Photographer and film-maker, Adrian Steirn has received the Queen’s honour for his outstanding service and inspirational work campaigning for wildlife.
South Africa – Australian born conservationist and docu-journalist Adrian Steirn, who has adopted South Africa as his home country, was recognised by the Queen as the 91st Commonwealth Point of Light for his outstanding service and inspirational work campaigning for conservation.
Steirn’s efforts in the field of conservation have consistently focused on the relationship between human beings and wildlife. His drive to understand and document this dynamic has taken him to some of the world’s most remote locations in search of its most fascinating creatures.
He is the creator of ‘The World’s Most Wanted Leopard’, a documentary that charts his journey to Azerbaijan and quest to capture photographic evidence of the critically endangered Caucasian leopard. His photo essay, ‘A Complicated War’, shares Steirn’s reflections on the damage the rhino poaching crisis was having on the communities affected by poaching. The piece won the Professional Social Cause category at the 2015 International Photographic Awards. A subsequent photo essay, ‘The Pangolin Men’, aims to draw attention to the plight of pangolins, an often-overlooked species despite being the world’s most trafficked mammal. The series, which includes a short film, was a finalist for the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in 2017.
Steirn is also the founder of ‘Beautiful News,’ a multimedia storytelling format that uses photography and filmmaking to share the stories of ordinary people in southern Africa whose passion, dedication and commitment inspire, helps or otherwise influences the habitat, and those around them, in a positive way.
Through Beautiful News, and with his various projects, Steirn has been at the forefront of pivotal content that has had a significant role in stimulating action and discussion around key conservation issues.
Steirn has also displayed unique bravery, putting his life at risk to consistently defend those under threat in their habitats and expose those who seek to use the environment for their benefit. In 2018, Steirn received worldwide acclaim and recognition for his brave three-month undercover mission which uncovered a poaching and smuggling syndicate, linked directly to the former first lady Grace Mugabe. Steirn gathered documents, undercover videos and testimonies, which he showed to Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. Since Steirn’s work in Zimbabwe, over 300 kilograms of illicit ivory has been seized by the authorities, and a police investigation against Mugabe regime is currently underway.
“To be awarded the point of light award is a great accolade and I deeply appreciate it. It is an award that represents communities of people that have touched me over the last decade of photographing Africa and speaks back to the value of our natural world and platforms such as Beautiful News.”
In 2019, Steirn intends to continue utilising his mastery of storytelling to continue galvanising conversation around crucial conservation issues. He will also be the launching an exciting AI ‘Smart Ad’ initiative called Acorn Intelligence, which is attempting to transform the way consumers interact with adverts while donating a percentage of its brand partners advertising spend back into conservation initiatives.