Wildlife should always be put first whenever humans are in its space for any reason, be it photography, research and survey or viewing. It should always be left natural and frantic in its environment so that it can thrive at its peak powers.
Photography is one of the activities that draws humans closer to the wildlife and the entire wilderness. At the time when wild animals are facing insolvable threats for their existence, any activity letting people close to the natural environment should be given a close eye and strict guidelines must be drafted.
Wildlife is knowingly and unknowingly abused by people who engage in photography tours. The main victim is the Africa wildlife, millions and millions of travellers around the wold come to the various African wildlife habitats for photography. Africa being dominated by enormous expanses of tropical rainforests, montane, savannah grasslands, semi arid plains, water bodies and mountains, it is a host of numerous unique wildlife species that are rare to find in other continents. This resultantly attracts so many people globally to wilderness of Africa to enjoy and take photographs of these unique living species.
The influx of tourists to Africa for wildlife photography has led to degradation of the natural environment and also the privacy of the wild animals has been invaded in some way or the other. Therefore, the wildlife in Africa is at risk of losing its habitat and also declining in population and this will be a huge blow to the ecosystem worldwide.
We are not saying that viewing wildlife in its natural form or wildlife photography in particular should be cut out of the equation for the wildlife survival. We advise that ethics should be applied during photography tours so that the threats to the wildlife are minimized. It will be a win-win scenario if the two coexistence since they both need each other. The photography safari bring revenue that help out in the conservation and management of the wildlife habitats and similarly the wildlife brings so much excitement and learning to people while exploring it and taking its pictures.
What to do to Ethically photograph wildlife
Albeit of no existence of written laws on how to ethically photography wildlife, there are a handful of logical guidelines to heed while doing a photo shoot of wildlife or in the wilderness.
Do not destruct
Don’t harm or tamper with the natural environment with a motive of having a great position or view for photography. Ensure that the animals are let free to go through their normally routine. The forest or bush should not be destroyed for photography to prevail. These are the breeding places of the animals if destroyed it can lead to loss of habitats. Seek information from the park rangers on which places are accessible and those which are out of reach to travellers. This will help you identify the places to do your photography without destroying the wildlife in any way.
Keep it natural
While photographing wildlife don’t lure them into get habituated to have your best picture shoot. Feeding wildlife is highly discouraged in the national game parks of Africa. The most noble thing expected from the travellers is to respect the wildness of the animals. Their wildness is why you come to see them and experience their habitats, why would you change them for your own liking?
Most primates like baboons and monkeys can easily associate with people for food. By giving them food, you are killing their hunting instincts and they would struggle in the wilderness when you leave. Some times, these animals habituated to humans, tend to leave their habitats and invade the local communities where they end up being killed or knocked down on the roadsides. Note that it is illegal to feed animals in most of the game parks in Africa and culprits are always given a hefty punishment.
Comply with the laws
The laws to interact with wildlife in the various game parks in Africa varies across different countries and the types of animals. It is key to know and adhere to the rules and regulations of engaging in a certain activity around the national park. Most of these laws are set up for conservation reasons and limiting any danger between the animals and visitors. New stories about travellers getting injured or even dying for not obeying some danger limiting rules in the park come out everyday. One of the common rules in the park is keep some reasonable distance between the tourists and the wild animals. This rule should always be taken seriously.
Think about the captivity nature
Always contemplate about taking photos of animals in captivity. There are various zoos, sanctuaries, reserves, wildlife education centres, game farms and safari parks that are keeping wildlife not for the good of conservation or survival but for their own benefits. Make a thorough research about the wildlife place you’re wishing to do your photography before your trip. Find out if it is legitimate and doing its work for the good of wildlife.
Post and Describe with morality
Exercise openness on how the photograph was produced. The ethical part of wildlife photographing does not stop in the jungles, it proceeds even when sharing the pictures to the public or your circle. Tell the all truth how the picture came up if there was some editing to make it portray what you wished for. A few years back a picture of a gorilla taking a selfie gathered so much moss on social media. This was totally misleading and caused lots of confusions as travellers who wished to go gorilla trekking expected to watch gorillas taking selfies. The tour operators had to do some convincing to debunk what was posted on the internet. Endeavour to explain as you post on any public domain if you’re working with a trained animal, or if the animal took its own picture using a camera trap.” If it’s an exceptional or unexpected capture.
Wildlife photography is one of the main reasons as to why travellers visit the various game parks in Africa. We implore visitors of the safari parks to follow the above guidelines on how to ethically photograph wildlife so that both parties win. For those who wish to engage in a photograph safari, Uganda is the best place to visit. Uganda has so much to offer in terms of unique wildlife species for example; it has the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, the big five (lions, buffaloes, leopards, elephants and rhinos), shoebill, ostriches, Rothschild giraffes and so forth. To get the best out of your photograph safari, hire a car Uganda to explore on your own the different wildlife parks of the country.