The victims of the illegal wildlife trade

Story highlights

  • A Polish airport has an exhibit showing some of the illegal animal goods it has seized
  • Photographer Adam Lach recently took photos to document the problem
  • He hopes to sensitize people and make them aware they're part of the problem

(CNN)An elephant leg as a trash can. A crocodile skin for a bathroom carpet. A bear skin to help a man project power in the bedroom.

These are just some of the objects confiscated by Polish customs officers and documented by Adam Lach, a photographer and filmmaker at Napo Images.
    For Lach, the illegal wildlife trade symbolizes the devastation that can result from human thoughtlessness, "which, like locusts, can destroy all we have around us."
      Lach first learned about the illicit trade when he was a teenager in the 1990s. He was shocked by the stories he heard.
      But it was seeing an exhibit of trafficked animal goods -- items seized by customs officials at an airport in Warsaw, Poland -- that prompted him to embark on his photographic project "Human Tsunami."
      Adam Lach
      "I am not an idealist, but in our world we have the belief that we are the only valuable existence on planet Earth -- and this is not acceptable," Lach said.
      "The relation of men towards animals and nature is a reflection of the characteristics of the whole human population, as we still allow crimes against animals and nature. We do not understand that respecting the planet translates into respect of the people