Partnerships are crucial to our campaigns and we are honored to showcase those who have been essential to our success.

Learn more about our Action for Conservation Award



Rob is an enthusiastic and passionate advocate of shark conservation. A former British army officer, he has spent the last eight years diving the world’s best shark sites honing his underwater photography skills both on SCUBA (rebreather and open circuit) and freediving. Rob is founder of Shark Safaris, a not-for-profit global shark diving expedition organizer, and also a director of the Shark Conservation Society




Nick is an experienced wildlife documentary cameraperson with a strong interest in conservation. Before studying for his degree in zoology, Nick volunteered for a sea turtle conservation society and rehabilitated oiled and injured African penguins back to health. Nick is an African wildlife specialist and has visited Africa every year since he was 15 years old, whether for pleasure, filming or studying. He has a MSc in African mammalogy and researched the threatened brown hyena. Nick now films high-profile documentaries for BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and more.




Shannon Benson, aka Shannon Wild, is an Australian wildlife photographer, author and presenter based in South Africa. She has a weekly series on AnimalBytesTV and has been involved in various conservation projects over the years including shooting two charity calendars for Devil Ark called the Australian Girls of Herpetology. Shannon has authored three books: “Captive Care of the Central Netted Dragon,” “Pet Photography How-To” and “Wildlife Photography How-To”.




Niall has worked as a professional outdoor photographer and writer since graduating from Dundee University (Geog., Hons.) in 1993 after an earlier career as a fruit farmer. His special interest is in the nature / culture dynamic, although his writing covers topics as diverse as digital imaging and peat extraction issues in the Baltic states, eco-tourism and image critique. Author and illustrator of three internationally published books, he is also a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.




Brandon Cole is a wildlife photographer and writer specializing in the marine environment. His award-winning imagery from around the world includes one of the top cetacean files with over 20 species of whales and dolphins represented; extensive coverage of other marine mammals; sharks, fishes and invertebrates from tropical coral reefs to cold water kelp forests; scuba diving; and many other marine subjects. Cole lives in land-locked Spokane, WA with his artist wife Melissa.



Mark Drury is best known for his photographic work documenting the dynamic world of African wildlife. His journey to eventually become a wildlife photographer was evoked from the age of ten, when he became immediately smitten with the extraordinary visual revelations of National Geographic. A deep and longstanding reverence for animals  prompted the maiden voyage to Kenya and the love affair has continued ever since. It quickly became evident that this was the right path. And although the artistic and aesthetic values presented here are of utmost importance, there is equal concern and hope for the preservation and integrity of these magnificent and sacred African lands and the lives of her creatures. The profound hope for their future wellbeing acts as his chief driving force for this endeavor.




Vern began his photographic career in Texas shooting music while in high school, and currently lives in Los Angeles. His work is all about the process, the need to understand and find the realness and soul of a project. Vern has had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary people and travel to some amazing places. The beauty of what he does is being able to work with a wide assortment of clients from the corporate, travel and entertainment worlds. He is “always looking for that next magical moment”.




Shawn is a passionate photographer, cinematographer, and marine conservationist. He has worked with leading journalists and film teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic, as well as delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and Pew Environment Group. His award-winning work has been featured with National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, WIRED, and numerous other print and online publications.




Paul is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist, who focuses on global environmental and conservation issues. He followed the manta ray trade across the world and set up the Manta Ray of Hope project in partnership with WildAid and Manta Trust. Paul has received numerous awards for his conservation photography, including awards in the Asian Geographic Best of the Decade series, for conservation photography and photojournalism. He also won the Ark Trust Award for exposing bear bile farming in China, for Animals Asia Foundation. In 2009, Paul became a member of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers, and in 2010 launched his first book “Man & Shark” highlighting the global shark finning industry. In 2012, he won a World Press Photo award for his body of work on the shark fin issue and his image, “End of Sharks,” and was awarded wildlife photographer of the year




Kiki Karpus is an art director/graphic designer who hails from Michigan. She enjoys hiking, travel and home-brewing beer.


Ali Khataw


Ali Khataw is a Wildlife Photographer, a Curator and a Critic, who has a passion for educating people about the magic of the natural world. Ali believes that photography can be a powerful tool in storytelling. It is his mission to donate 100% of the profits generated through image sales, exhibitions and photo-safari workshops to wildlife conservation and social impact projects. Ali considers himself as a photo-philanthropist. He has won several international awards for his work on wildlife photography and is presently the head photography curator and critic at Ali is a corporate man with deep belief that wildlife and natural resources conservation need to be an integral part of corporate discussions. He does that well as the CEO of Encotech Engineering that is know in the Austin, Texas area for their sustainable projects. Ali is also on the forefront of economic development and advocacy as he will be leading the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce as the Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2023.;; Instagram: AliKhatawPhotography; Twitter: AliRKhataw; Facebook:



Russell is wildlife filmmaker and photographer by profession, a wildlife conservationist and naturalist at heart. He has an extensive knowledge and passion for African fauna and flora. Over the years, Russell has filmed numerous documentaries for National Geographic and Animal Planet among other channels, and his award winning images have graced the covers and pages of numerous international publications.




A journalism graduate from the University of Nebraska, Joel started his photographic career at The Wichita Eagle, and by the early nineties he had been recruited by National Geographic. Joel’s work has also appeared in Audubon, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Time and numerous book projects including the Day in the Life series. Joel and his work have been the subject of an hour-long PBS documentary entitled “At Close Range,” as well as many other national broadcasts including National Geographic’s Explorer and the CBS Sunday Morning Show. He has been recognized for his work by the National Press Photographers Association, the Inland Daily Press Association, and the Pictures of the Year International contest. Joel’s latest book, published by National Geographic, “Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species,” features portraits of some of the country’s most endangered creatures, from polar bears to whooping cranes.




Chris Schmid is a film director, cinematographer and photographer specializing in natural history in remote locations, mainly on big cats. Sony Ambassador, National Geographic Explorer and represented by National Geographic Image Collection, he has dedicated his life to documenting the natural beauty of our planet. His aim is always the same: to approach nature right at its heart in order to raise awareness around the fragility of our planet and inspire action to preserve it.




Grammy Nominated Photographer/Director Kristian Schmidt has shot subjects spanning from fashion to wildlife, Kristian has developed a unique style that focuses on the use of dramatic juxtaposition and opposites to create stunning and enigmatic images. In recent years Kristian’s photography has been on exhibition at some of the most prestigious venues worldwide including Milk Studios in New York City, Art Basel Miami, the Cannes Film Festival, Opera Gallery London and Art Monaco. He hopes his pictures can convey the synergy between wildlife and humans.




Douglas Steakley is a widely-recognized photographer from Carmel Valley, California. His photographs have received awards in many photography competitions including those sponsored by National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Petersen’s Photographic magazine and the US National Park Service. His images have been published in many local, national and international magazines including Architectural Digest, Backpacker, Outside, Better Homes and Gardens, Art And Antiques, Private Pilot, Luxury Living, The Robb Report, Town and Country, Runner’s World and Elite Traveler.