SHOOTING WILDLIFE WITH A CAMERA AND NOT A GUN
Many people cannot understand the mentality of trophy hunters who derive pleasure from killing wild animals, just so they can display a souvenir trophy on their wall. We asked some professional wildlife photographers to tell us how they feel when shooting wildlife with a camera, not a gun.
George Logan is an award-winning photographer and his wonderful images are regularly used throughout our campaigns. George says: “Often, when I look through my camera viewfinder at a beautiful wild animal, I consider the mindset of those people who, when looking through the sights of their rifle at a similar creature, would selfishly choose to pull the trigger, ending all that movement, grace and natural beauty in an instant, for ever… all they are left with is some macabre trophy.
“There seems to be some debate, even in conservation circles, that allowing some hunting is good, that it somehow places a value on the animal’s life, hence making it worth saving. I will never understand this. Hunters will always persevere, even targeting endangered species whose numbers are already plummeting. That all needs to end. Now.”
Blake McGrow is an experienced television documentary maker who we first worked with in 2014 when he filmed a lion rescue and relocation. “I have been lucky to visit many African countries over the years, but nothing prepares you for the thrill of seeing wildlife up close in their natural habitat,” he says.
“My favourite photo has to be of a lioness roaring, simply because I had attempted to shoot a lion close-up many times over the years, but generally flinched through fear. Finally, I got one. They are such stunning, powerful and majestic creatures. Of course they can be intimidating when protecting their pride, but even then, there is always a part of me that yearns to wander over and stroke them. I always leave Africa feeling humbled and extremely privileged. How any human could even consider killing an animal for fun is utterly incomprehensible to me.”
Michael Vickers has a passion for photographing tigers in their natural forest environment. Every year he returns to India to follow their fortunes in the wild and we have featured many of his beautiful images in our work.
He says: “In my opinion trophy hunting is an excuse for a comparatively small number of wealthy and cruel unfeeling individuals to kill poor defenceless animals in a restricted area where the animals have no chance of escape. Huge amounts of money are made by the organisers of trophy hunting which in no way is of benefit to conservation of wildlife.”
Filip Fortuna, Born Free’s Video Production Manager, has visited some of the projects we support.
He says: “Every encounter with wildlife is a truly unique and enriching experience. I will never forget seeing a tigress with two sub-adult males in the jungles of central India. To know there are roughly 4,000 tigers left in the wild, makes such an encounter an unforgettable one. Tigers are fascinating creatures, but under so much threat from human conflict and poaching for their body parts. To hunt a magnificent species like that with a rifle or any other weapon, just for one’s own thrill and to take it home as a trophy, should never be allowed. The only way to shoot an animal is with a camera.”
The thrill of photography is something we can all understand. Capturing a fantastic image on film is also something we can all appreciate. What we cannot comprehend is using a gun when you can use a camera instead.
Our current photography competition Shoot to Thrill welcomes entries from photographers of all ages and levels of experience. Anyone with a camera is encouraged to get outside and photograph wildlife as it should be – in the wild.