This week I witnessed one of the most disrespectful displays of wildlife ‘photography’ to date. While the baiting of owls is high on my list, at least some of the photographers who I know that bait still care about wildlife. The gentlemen I saw on this day don’t even deserve to have cameras.
I went to a great horned owl nest twice last week. The first time I found a gentleman there with a pretty basic setup. He was just standing there, camera pointed at the nest, waiting patiently. He was set up in a place I would have chosen myself if he was not there. I set up nearby. We caught eyes and exchanged a pleasant hello. He had been there for 4 hours. He had been there the day before. And the day before. And the SIX years prior watching this nest. A patient, passionate and kind gentleman who put the animals first.
During our chat, 4 men with 600mm lenses and geared out to the max came crashing into the scene. They set up with the quietness of a freight train. The first whistled loudly at the sleeping owlets. The second began an aggressive hoot to wake them up. The third clapped his hands wildly. The fourth set up literally at the base of the tree and was shooting nearly straight up at them.
They shot for literally 5 minutes and left as abruptly as they arrived.
I sat there literally jaw dropped. I was absolutely astonished. I couldn’t believe these ‘photographers’ could care so little for the subjects they were photographing, let alone the photographer who had been standing there for 4 hours.
What will it take for us to finally respect the animals we share this earth with? These are small examples of our disrespect when compared with the massive environmental issues that are literally wiping out our wildlife worldwide. But why can’t we at least as individuals do our part to protect this amazing gift we have in our natural world?