Shooting the wild

By 06/10/20182017-19

The trap was set. The only sound was the rustling of leaves in the wind. With a bated breath he waited. The prey finally arrived. Unsuspecting, naïve. There was a soft click, and the deed was done.

Sustainability is one of the two halves that make up the concept of Photosphere. Sustainability is not just having a cleaner and greener environment for humans, it seeks to achieve that for all the living beings of the planet. As we celebrated World Animal Day on the 4th of October, this post goes on to explore how photography has brought the wildlife to our homes and the effect it has on species and habitat conservation activities.

A few decades ago, hunting parties would tramp the jungles of the world in search of elusive game. Days would be spent in tracking the animal’s movements by following the traces it left behind – broken grass blades, remains of its last meal or the dung it left behind. A hunter’s worth would depend on both the number and size of the kill.

Today, most parts of the world frown upon this sport. A new way of shooting the wild has now taken its stead – photography. A wildlife photographer today goes through as much or rather more trouble than the shikaris of the past. Not only does the photographer maintain a respectable distance from the animals, he tries to create as minimal a disturbance in their natural habitat as possible. His trophies – pictures of animals in their homes, convey a lot more than dead stuffed heads on a wall.

The responsibility on wildlife photographers and documentary makers is increasing with each passing day. As wildlife experiences the worst effects of climate change and plastic pollution, images and videos prove indispensable in creating and spreading awareness. The emaciated polar bear captured by Nat Geo’s photographers opened the world’s eyes to what we are doing to the planet and its inhabitants.

Sir David Attenborough asks, “The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” and the question has never been more relevant. Let us hope that the picture books made by photographers today help save at least a few real elephants that our grandchildren can see.

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