Melissa Groo on Ethics in Wildlife Photography

Story and Photos by Melissa Groo

In British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a mother grizzly bear pauses with a freshly caught salmon before retreating into the forest with her cub.

In British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a mother grizzly bear pauses with a freshly caught salmon before retreating into the forest with her cub. © Melissa Groo

As Melissa Groo explains in her Outdoor Photographer article Finding the Right Track back in March- “Now, more than ever, we need an open discussion on the ethics of wildlife photography. This is the best time in history to be a wildlife photographer, and this is the worst time in history to be a wild animal. That statement might sound extreme, but consider the facts. It has never been easier to find a wild subject. Online databases, photography forums, texting and social media yield instant information on the location of a bird or other animal—often with GPS coordinates. Workshops that promise spectacular shots of wildlife in thrilling destinations abound. Thermal-imaging devices locate dens and nests; camera traps, drones and buggies find and track elusive animals. It also has never been easier to actually photograph a wild subject. Current lens technology, AF systems, and gear lightness and maneuverability make stunning images easily within reach of both amateurs and professionals. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us when we’re out in the field. If we work within the bounds of patience, respect and an understanding of the challenges wild animals face, we’ll be on the right track.” Continue reading