Ami Vitale - TreadRight Wildlife Ambassador

Award-winning National Geographic photographer and filmmaker will be helping to make travel matter with wildlife initiatives in South Africa and Botswana...

In Celebration of World Wildlife Day 2020 TreadRight Announces Ami Vitale as New ‘Wildlife Ambassador’

“I realized that if I wanted to cover a story, I should spend time to understand it. And to do that, you have to live the story. I use nature as the foil to talk about our home, our future, and where we are going. These stories show us how dependent we are on nature for the outcome of our own existence.”

TreadRight Ambassadors are activists and storytellers who are dedicated to our planet, people, and wildlife. Since 2015 we’ve worked with Céline Cousteau, and more recently Sarain Fox, to help tell the stories of our inspiring Planet and People project partners around the world.

We are thrilled to announce Ami Vitale as TreadRight’s first Wildlife Ambassador, who’s joining forces with us to shed light on the conservation value that travel holds for wildlife when done right.

Ami is an award-winning National Geographic photographer, filmmaker, and writer who has told some of the most compelling wildlife stories of our time. Her work aligns with TreadRight’s wildlife initiatives including its work with rhino, elephant, and leopard populations across Africa and India.

While her background in conflict photography allowed her to witness the enduring power of the human spirit, Ami transitioned into wildlife photography after a life-changing moment in 2009 when she met the last living northern white rhinos on the planet. She followed the story for a decade, eventually witnessing the death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, and the final moments he shared surrounded by his dedicated protectors – a photo so powerful it was chosen by National Geographic’s readers as the best image of the decade.

“Photography is not about the camera and not even about the beautiful images we create,” says Ami. “It is about telling powerful stories. It is a tool for creating awareness and understanding across cultures, communities, and countries; a tool to make sense of our commonalities in the world we share.”

Ami uses her platform to tell the stories integral to our future: the stories about the human condition and its connection to the natural world. She believes that there’s been no time in human history that we’ve seen a greater awareness and opportunity for transformation.

“When we see ourselves as part of nature, we see that saving nature is really about saving ourselves. Telling these stories reminds us all of what we can achieve when we choose to make the natural world our priority.”

Ami Vitale's journey as a photographer, writer and filmmaker has taken her to over 100 countries where she has witnessed civil unrest and violence, but also surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. She has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.”

Her belief that “you can’t talk about humanity without talking about nature” led her to from documenting warzones to telling some of the most compelling wildlife and environmental stories of our time, where individuals are making a profound difference in the future of their communities and this planet. 

Ami is an Ambassador for Nikon and a National Geographic magazine photographer, explorer, and speaker. Most recently, she has documented wildlife and poaching in Africa, efforts to save the northern white rhino and reintroduce pandas to the wild. In 2018, InStyle Magazine named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series celebrating female change-makers.

Ami has been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer's Association. She is a five-time recipient of World Press Photos, including the 1st Prize for her 2018 National Geographic magazine story about a community in Kenya protecting elephants. She published a best-selling book, Panda Love; The Secret Lives of Pandas. She is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers with a mission of creating powerful stories illustrating the very specific issues women in developing countries face.