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Wildlife ‘snappers’ to highlight harm done by Shell

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Friends of the Earth today called on wildlife lovers and photographers to submit images that highlight the damage done to wildlife by oil and gas companies, including Shell, to the 2007 Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is launched today.

The environmental campaign group is encouraging people to submit images showing how oil companies around the world are damaging wildlife and the environment to the competition's "The World in Our Hands" section.

Shell has attracted particular criticism in Sakhalin Island, where its operations are threatening the last remaining population of the endangered Western Pacific Gray Whale. Last year Shell obtained a licence to explore for oil and gas in the Artic, one of the few remaining wildernesses in the world. Despite concerns about climate change - potentially the biggest ever threat to biodiversity - Shell plans a 9-13% increase in its extraction of fossil fuels by 2009.

Shell is the current sponsor of the competition, organised jointly by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, contributing ?750,000.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the Natural History Museum not to renew the sponsorship deal with Shell next year, as the company's sponsorship undermines the award's powerful environmental message.

Friends of the Earth's Shell campaigner Hannah Griffiths said: "Shell's environmental impact is overwhelmingly negative. As well as being a major contributor to climate change, one of the biggest threats to global biodiversity, its projects are causing direct wildlife destruction around the world.

"We want people to submit images that highlight the impact Shell and other oil and gas companies have on wildlife. The Natural History Museum has swept Shell's wildlife destruction under the table in order to accept the sponsorship. Images are an incredibly important way to bring these issues to light".

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