2017 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition Winner
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Guassa Geladas, Jeff Kerby
Geladas are the last grass-eating monkeys. Isolated in the mountains of Ethiopia, these bleeding-heart monkeys have a bizarre diet, social system, and morphology that are reflections of their alpine habitat. This ecosystem braces the Great Rift Valley and brims with uniquely adapted plants and animals, yet it is rapidly disappearing.
Jeff Kerby is an ecologist and award-winning photojournalist, documenting rare behaviors and remote regions. His first feature story in National Geographic Magazine was published in 2017 on Gelada monkeys living in the highlands of central Ethiopia. He is the recipient of several National Geographic photography and research grants. As Technical Director of ConservationDrones.org, Jeff blends his photographic and ecological backgrounds to bring artistic, scientific, and technological tools to pressing conservation challenges in countries as diverse as Suriname, Congo, Tanzania, and Greenland. Currently, Jeff is Neukom Fellow at Dartmouth College where he focuses on using drones and quantitative imaging techniques to understand Arctic tundra change and its impacts on the ecology of the region.
Jeff Kerby's compelling, intimate, yet powerful images of the Guassa Geladas stopped us in our tracks. The essay filled us with delight, humour, curiosity, compassion, bewilderment, and admiration. The story of the Geladas has an ecological perspective and seeing these images tells us so much about the life of these mountain monkeys. We are able to relate to the story because the postures of the animals are so human-like. Truly fresh and beautiful: visual storytelling at its finest.