“I will not harm my subject!”
Every wildlife and nature photographer should follow this principle and should not harm anyone for self-interest even when nobody is watching him.
A huge number of people enjoy Wildlife Photography Tours with high-end photography equipment and harm wildlife for getting a ‘perfect shot’. Nowadays, it has become very common due to the more usage of social media and lack of awareness in people.
Whatever is the reason, self-regulation is the best thing to spot this unethical photography. Before telling and stopping anyone, we need to see- Are we harming anything? If answers is no, then you can move ahead to stop others.
Though there is nothing wrong in enjoying photography of nature and wild animals but what matters is how do we do that? And does that harm anyone? Your enjoyment should go parallel with responsibility but in India the two things are rarely found together. There are a large number of people with luxury cars but with no sense of safe driving. Similarly, there are a large number of photographers with expensive cameras and lenses but are not sensitive towards nature. So, a bitter truth is there are responsible photographers who are caring and sensitive towards nature but at the same time there numerous uncaring and insensitive people who have become danger to the wildlife.
What is Unethical Photography?
There are plenty of photographers who never realize the effects on wildlife by their harmful actions. They just want to enjoy Wildlife Holidays in India and think only of their pleasure and do not think of stress caused by them deeply. Making photographers aware of this issue might make them think over it on their next outing.
Examples of Unethical Practices for Wildlife Photography
It is not possible to define every example of unethical photography but we have included few examples based on common practices:
A large number of people or jeeps gather at one place in a national park/sanctuary and going closer to a spotted animal to provoke it. Crowding causes stress and may disturb them. It may lead the change in their behavior like hunting, courtship and feeding, this may make them more dangerous.
2| Nest or Den Photography
Clicking pictures of birds near their nest or mammals near their dens may disturb them and it forces them to shift to another den/nest which might be not as perfect as their previous habitant. Your unethical photography of nest/den motivates other photographers to do the same. It is better to avoid such activities and stay away from new born babies.
3| Playing Birdcalls to attract birds
Fake birdcalls may cause stress to the birds and results in wastage of their energy in responding to the playback. Also, it disrupt the social systems and break up of bird pairs. Sometimes, playing birdcalls during the breeding season may disturb adults in performing their tasks like nest guarding, courtship or protecting boundaries. Avoid such practice and especially when they are rare endangered species.
4| Use of Mobile Phones inside the National Parks
Almost every national park has banned use of mobile phones and wireless radios. This disturbs the wildlife and tourists who are here to enjoy the nature.
5| Driving fast in the National Park
Driving fast to reach early before the gate closes or for spotting can frighten animals and may lead them to run over from there. Speeding is prohibited but this practice is still carried out. Maintain the low speed within a prescribed limit.
What to do?
When you spot any animal, maintain a good distance between animal and your vehicle. If you see another jeep is approaching then don’t wait, click pictures and leave earlier before making a crowd over there.
If you find any photographer, driver or guide doing any harmful action then you can shoot a video for proof and register your complaint to the authority.
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