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Author Topic: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal  (Read 20639 times)

kirispupis

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2017, 07:46:37 PM »
So what is the difference between a guide knowing where to go and driving into the right position to take the photo, and someone having a hide where they know the animals are?

'In our case took several days to find'....not you. The guide. You did zip. You were simply plonked in the right position to take the photo. Capturing the fleeting moment takes skill and luck whether it is truly 'hunted' by yourself, or you were put in the right position by a guide driving a truck, or you went to a wildlife hide in the right place, or someone baiting the animals to make it easier or in a zoo.

I know I am being deliberately contentious here to simply point out that your issues are self imposed. As I see it, your whole reason for posting this thread is for people to validate your own ethics. You have already decided to not include this image in your portfolio, and anyone who says 'include it' you have said why you haven't.  So I am not sure why you asked the question other than self-validation.

First, this absolutely is a discussion. My own opinions have changed during its course. Yes, I've already decided not to include this photo, but I was very undecided about others. As has already been covered here, there are a lot of grey areas. Technically, the instant we show up or place anything in an environment, we're changing animal behavior - so what line do I need to draw for my own work?

In terms of your questions on a safari, that certainly depends on your photographic skills. I can say in my case that I'm certainly not "doing zip". The guide, tracker, and I are in constant communication.
  • I'm telling them which animals and behaviors I'm looking for.
  • I'm paying strong attention to the light. At times I redirect them to different experiences. For example, I wanted to get giraffes and elephants in the sunset. We also wanted lions, so we found the giraffes + elephants,
     then went searching for lions with the knowledge that when the sun base close to setting we'd find the giraffes or elephants again.
  • I'm telling them where to place the vehicle
  • I'm telling them how long to spend with each animal. For some behaviors, the only way you're going to get it is patience

There's also the preparation involved. Which reserves are the best in Africa for obtaining certain shots? You're not going to find everything in a single place. For example, cheetahs are more common where lions are not. Some locations require special access that needs to be arranged. Finally, in my case I read several books about animal behaviors. While the guides do provide help, ultimately you need to understand enough about their behavior to understand what they may be on the verge of doing.

Finally, there's nothing wrong with hiring an expert to help. When I went to the Pantanal, I had no idea how to find jaguars - so I hired someone who'd lived there for 30 years to help.
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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2017, 07:46:37 PM »

slclick

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2017, 08:03:06 PM »
Excellent shot, end of story.
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CanonFanBoy

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2017, 09:11:21 PM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
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Orangutan

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2017, 09:56:41 PM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
History is full of scoundrels who claimed that the ends justify the means. 

This is not to say that baiting is always wrong, but it's always worthwhile to think whether you have the expertise to know whether it negatively affects the animal.

slclick

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2017, 10:05:21 PM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
History is full of scoundrels who claimed that the ends justify the means. 

This is not to say that baiting is always wrong, but it's always worthwhile to think whether you have the expertise to know whether it negatively affects the animal.

Quote whatever you want, in the end it's just a picture, not the Bosnian Serb trials at The Hague.
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Jack Douglas

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2017, 10:19:45 PM »
My 2 cents relating to a similar but different situation.  I went to Haida Gwaii specifically because I fancied shooting Bald eagles.  They are everywhere but not all that easy to get super shots.  BTW, the Haida claim to have been on that/those islands for thousands of years.

Then a friendly person told me to go to Copper Bay, a tiny gathering spot with no permanent residents where natives are allowed to catch the salmon with some restrictions.  They set out their nets in the evening and in the morning before the tide goes out they retrieve their catch of food for the coming winter.

One lazy fellow slept in and his fish ended up on dry land and boy did the eagles enjoy that.  i got many shots and observed lots of interesting behaviour.

Later in the day one couple cleaned dozens of fish on the bank using a portable table and threw the heads into the shallow water prior to the tide coming in and once again, eagles and more eagles.

If this has been going on 10 000 years is it natural?

As others have said the only issue for me is being up front on how photos were acquired.  I converted the top of my barn to an observatory across from a nice grove of trees and that has given me some lovely bird photos.  Lots of seed scattered everywhere has helped also.  Is it better if I were to have no photos and be less aware of bird behaviour.  No doubt there is a limit to what's acceptable and lying when entering a photo contest is unethical but taking and showing photos is my personal right provided it's not illegal.

I am a little puzzled by the OP.  Does elitism enter into this?

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YuengLinger

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2017, 10:24:23 PM »
More importantly, is a man-bun ethical?  Or is it just a staged display?    :o   ::)   ;D
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 10:27:26 PM by YuengLinger »

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2017, 10:24:23 PM »

Orangutan

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #37 on: December 20, 2017, 10:26:28 PM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
History is full of scoundrels who claimed that the ends justify the means. 

This is not to say that baiting is always wrong, but it's always worthwhile to think whether you have the expertise to know whether it negatively affects the animal.
in the end it's just a picture,

Are you a wildlife biologist?  If not, your assertion has no value.  Only someone who has professional knowledge of the effects of habituation is qualified to assert that it's not harmful to the animal.

ooF Fighters

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2017, 10:47:44 PM »
In the end, it's your own ethics that determine what goes into your portfolio. Just know that you may be at a distinct disadvantage, having held yourself to standards higher than National Geographic photographers.-
     https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/shark-pictures-not-fake-brain-skerry/             

RGF

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2017, 01:32:00 AM »
will some explain baiting to me.

toss a mouse, fish, etc for a bird is baiting

What about a feeder?

What about a man made water hole?

Is setting up a perch near a nest site equivalent to baiting?  Or a perch near a water hole (either natural or man made)?

I could go on

I find the topic confusing - reminds of Talmudic law.

+1. One thing I keep thinking about is how farmers along the natural flyways of Sandhill Cranes are encouraged to leave some of their grain in the field. In fact, even wildlife refuges do this. Is that baiting?

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Jack Douglas

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2017, 03:25:31 AM »
In the end, it's your own ethics that determine what goes into your portfolio. Just know that you may be at a distinct disadvantage, having held yourself to standards higher than National Geographic photographers.-
     https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/shark-pictures-not-fake-brain-skerry/           

Interesting video that highlights why totally natural may not be feasible.  Thanks.

The nice thing about hobby nature photography is that by shear chance opportunities arise that can produce photos that are occasionally/more likely rarely, award winning.  It's the "chance" fun factor that makes the endeavor worthwhile along with all the great photos that are not award winning but really nice to view while reliving the experience. 

While there are certain practices that I personally would never engage in (i.e. feeding wildlife on trips through national parks where it is forbidden and where numerous people may feed and then the feeding disappears for a season leaving the animals disadvantaged or creates safety hazards), I still think the key is being honest about the techniques used.   

Jack
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Orangutan

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2017, 08:23:07 AM »
In the end, it's your own ethics that determine what goes into your portfolio. Just know that you may be at a distinct disadvantage, having held yourself to standards higher than National Geographic photographers.-
     https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/shark-pictures-not-fake-brain-skerry/           

This is why it's important to consult with a wildlife biologist who specializes in the kind of animal you want to photograph.  Some species will habituate to human interaction, others not so much.  Habituation is usually bad for wild animals.  There are exceptions: current belief is that dogs evolved from wolves through habituation.

As humans we all should evolve our ethics as we gain life experience: I doubt any of us would like to see a world full of people who act with the ethics of a 2-year old.  Even in adulthood we must continue to examine our own ethics.  I've heard several stories of "alternative medicine" practitioners who have walked-away from lucrative businesses after figuring out that what they were taught doesn't actually work. 

So yes, you should be willing to put yourself at a disadvantage to avoid being unethical.  When you take a photo you should ask yourself whether your photo will benefit the subject (or their population/species/society) as much as it benefits you.  If the answer is no, then think twice about it. 

Orangutan

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2017, 08:44:51 AM »
One thing I keep thinking about is how farmers along the natural flyways of Sandhill Cranes are encouraged to leave some of their grain in the field. In fact, even wildlife refuges do this. Is that baiting?

No, because the program was designed by biologists for the benefit of the bird species.  The ethical questions are: who benefits, and who is harmed (or may be harmed)?  Only the appropriate scientists are in position to answer these questions for wild species.

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2017, 08:44:51 AM »

CanonFanBoy

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #43 on: December 21, 2017, 08:46:03 AM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
History is full of scoundrels who claimed that the ends justify the means. 

This is not to say that baiting is always wrong, but it's always worthwhile to think whether you have the expertise to know whether it negatively affects the animal.
in the end it's just a picture,

Are you a wildlife biologist?  If not, your assertion has no value.  Only someone who has professional knowledge of the effects of habituation is qualified to assert that it's not harmful to the animal.

Lol! And only Evel Knievel knew his jumps were dangerous. Silly as can be. :o
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 08:54:50 AM by CanonFanBoy »
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Orangutan

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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #44 on: December 21, 2017, 08:58:29 AM »
Excellent shot, end of story.

Best answer by far. I think that is really all that is wanted. Driving a truck into a wild area for a photo changes behavior more than tossing a fish. Silly discussion for sure.
History is full of scoundrels who claimed that the ends justify the means. 

This is not to say that baiting is always wrong, but it's always worthwhile to think whether you have the expertise to know whether it negatively affects the animal.
in the end it's just a picture,

Are you a wildlife biologist?  If not, your assertion has no value.  Only someone who has professional knowledge of the effects of habituation is qualified to assert that it's not harmful to the animal.

Lol! And only Evel Knieval knows his jumps are dangerous. Silly as can be. :o

Let me see if I understand you correctly: you're saying that aptitude, training, experience and practice are needed for good photography, but none of those are needed to understand animal behavior and welfare?  Well, I'll be darned! Your real name must be Scott Pruitt, amirite?

I would not trust a lawyer to perform surgery.

I would not trust a doctor to defend me in court.

I would not trust either of these to fix my plumbing or electrical problems.

And I would not trust a photographer to make a scientific judgement about wildlife.

Each discipline requires separate study and experience.


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Re: Ethics of a photograph containing a baited animal
« Reply #44 on: December 21, 2017, 08:58:29 AM »