So recently I talked about ethical wildlife photography in a blog titled Putting Nature First , a blog motivated by an article in this months BBC Wildlife magazine ( October 2020 edition ) The blog generated a few questions about the list of do’s and don’t s , so as requested here is the full list according to the BBC Wildlife magazine.
- Keep a safe distance from animals
- Keep quiet and calm
- Obey wildlife laws and regulations
- Caption photos honestly
- Research animal behaviour and follow advise from guides , scientists and other experts
- Move away if your presence is causing stress to the animal
- Follow journalistic standards on the reality of photos
- Wait a while before posting wildlife photos on social media
- Make sure metadata is stripped from images before sharing them
- Use live bait
- Feed animals harmful food
- Feed animals if feeding could harmfully change the way they would behave naturally
- Get too close
- Crowd animals with vehicles
- Pursue animal too long
- Visit zoos or sanctuaries, if animals aren’t cared for properly
- Force animals to perform or pose for a photograph
- Exit or process photos to alter reality
- Approach sets or dens
- Disclose locations of sites, especially nests or dens
Most of the above is common sense, but I do disagree with a couple of their points.
- Keep a safe distance ? Safe for whom , the animal or the photographer. And just what is a safe distance anyway. Having watched people try to photograph Grizzly bears in Canada from 50 metres away , who knows how far is too close.
- Crowd animals with vehicle’s……what about crowding animals with hordes of photographers on foot. I’m sure we have all witnesses this happening.
- Pursue an animal too far ….. No no no. Field craft is about putting yourself in the right spot to take images. Let the animal approach you but never approach the animal and if it moves away , let it unhindered.
- And lastly, ever reveal the excavator location , unless you want your subject to be harassed.
How weird, I just read that in the Wildlife Mag too. If only this was true. I see photographers wanting to get that shot by putting an animal at risk, especially during the Deer rut. Good job we both follow the code of conduct. Animals shouldn’t be placed in a studio set up- Countryfile photography comp or dive pools. Photographs should be taken in natural habits where wildlife is safe from harm and able to roam wild and free.
I think that I’m a photographer first , naturalist second. However the older I get I find the roles reversing. I guess that’s getting older and better educated .