Muhammad Osama is a wildlife photographer with a day job as a Senior Transport and City Planner in Dubai, UAE. He completed his Master’s degree from Technical University of Munich, Germany in Transport Strategic Planning.
Photography became a passion in 2007, when he bought his DSLR camera and took his first photographs at the Zurich Zoo. Going through the pictures later fascinating him, and he decided to explore wildlife photography further. Later, in 2011 Osama visited Masai Mara, Kenya and was awestruck by beauty of the natural world, and that is when his hobby turned into a passion. What is more, Osama also plans to turn this passion into a profession, and sees himself as a full-time wildlife photographer in the next five to six years.
Talking about his most memorable moment in capturing images, Osama shared that it was photographing his favourite animal, black rhino in 2016 in Kenya. Along with his group, he had been trying to sight a rhino for five days without much success. However, their luck turned around on the last day, when early in the morning he got a glimpse of a black rhino, behind dense bushes. After patiently waiting for more than eight hours, the black rhino finally came out in the open, followed by a female rhino along with a calf. “I cannot express my excitement, as it was a once in a life time moment for me to see a black rhino family”, Osama shared.
For Osama, an interest in photography connected him to nature and wildlife, and its conservation. He soon realized that these beautiful wonders, wildlife and their habitat, were facing intense threats at most places. Soon his passion for wildlife photography was channalled into nature conservation.
“Recently I got involved with the Masai Mara National Reserve Conservancy in Kenya, to see the impact of increasing number of livestock on wildlife and their natural habitat. The reserve is considered one of the most visited place on the planet to see wildlife. But human wildlife conflict has now become a major threat to its unique wildlife. Last year a number of lions were killed by the local community as a result of this conflict. The Masai community, living near the boundary of the national park are also cutting and burning the forest at an alarming rate to utilize the grounds for grazing,” Osama explained.
Further elaborating the issue, Osama added that humanity’s entire life support system depends on the well-being of wildlife and the rest of the environment. He stressed that we need to educate people that deteriorating environment around us is resulting in the collapse of our food and water supplies. Environmental conservation is an investment that we will be making in our own survival and that of our future generations.
Osama recently started his collaboration with WWF-Pakistan. He hopes to educate people about the amazing places and wildlife in Pakistan, and around the world, and threats they are facing, and what we can do as individuals to help decrease these threats.
On a trip to Naltar in February 2017, Osama photographed Lolly, one of the two captive snow leopards in Pakistan. Recalling the experience, he shared that the first sight of the ghost of the mountain was as mesmerizing as it could be, with the big cat’s blue eyes sparkling in the thick white snow. He ended by taking 1500 shots that day!
The images of Lolly, were indeed stunning and were selected by the WWF network to be used in this year’s International Snow leopard Day’s digital content. Osama’s pictures appeared across the in the globe package and continues to be used till today.
Fatima Arif is Senior Officer Digital Media, WWF-Pakistan.