About Gerry Ellis

Photographer & Writer

A quarter-century of documenting great apes in the wilds of Africa and Borneo.

Gerry Ellis’ photographic work has been featured globally in publications from BBC Wildlife to National Geographic, and kids magazines like Ranger Rick and Owl. Children’s books on Gorillas, Chimpanzees and Orangutans have delighted, and inform children about the magic of great apes for over two decades.

Launching Great Apes 2020 in 2012 was actually a return to assignment work Gerry began in 1989 with his initial trip to Gombe Stream NP in Tanzania, to photograph chimpanzees and work with famed primatologist Jane Goodall. That same year he trekked into the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda and DRCongo (then Zaire) and began photographing critically endangered mountain gorillas.

In returning to document great apes, Gerry also returned to a great ape world under enormous change, threat and chaos. Apes & Palm Oil, for example, illustrates how Gerry’s work detours from traditional wildlife photography to photojournalistic view of extinction in a world of complex issues. Portfolios such as his recent coverage of the 2015 fires in Borneo — Surviving on a Burnt Landscape and The Price of Palm Oil — illustrate how both his focus and approach have changed as dramatically as the world in which great apes now fight to survive.


Gerry’s great ape work was recognized in 2015 with the Global Conservation Award from the Philadelphia Zoo. His 2015-2016 global research and reporting on great apes has been made possible, in part, through the financial support of the Philadelphia Zoo Conservation and Education department, and GLOBIO.


Photos: ©Jennifer Loren (upper right), ©Gerry Ellis (bottom)

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