Underdogs - African wild dogs
In late 2008 Neil began planning his first ambitious self-funded conservation photo story. He began working alongside researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa and Botswana's Northern Tuli Predator Project in early 2009.
Over the next two years, he tracked and photographed a small population of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), one of the most endangered carnivores on the planet, in a remote corner of northern South Africa and Tuli in eastern Botswana.
In 2021, one of Neil's wild dog portraits was selected for the front cover of the landmark book Remembering African Wild Dogs which, as part of the 'Remembering' series, has raised considerable funds for frontline conservation work, including for African wild dogs.
The project's photography was also celebrated in an iLCP exhibition in Colorado in the United States. More than three million people worldwide engaged with Neil's image of an alpha female wild dog called Stellar in the coveted 2010 Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and book. In 2012, the project picked up an award in the International Conservation Photography Awards in the USA and in 2015 it was commended in the Threatened Species Photoreport category of the Nature Images Awards.
Unfortunately, almost all of the wild dogs that Neil photographed were killed at the hands of humans, adding extra weight to the need for the project to achieve its original aims of giving something back to African wild dog conservation.
As a self-generated and personally-funded project, Neil planned to make no profit from Underdogs. However, he was able to make donations in excess of $1,500 to wild dog projects in Zimbabwe and South Africa through sales of the book.
The 156-page hardback book Underdogs is now sold out. Please feel free to enjoy the gallery below which showcases many of the best images from the project.
Neil published Underdogs as a book in 2011 and it influenced a number of readers to commit their own time and money to volunteering on wild dog conservation projects in Africa. The following infographic shows some of the key stats behind the project and the book.