Guidelines for Ethical Field Practices for a Wildlife Photographer
The preamble of these guidelines is to lay down generally accepted ethical field practices to be strictly observed by DCP members while photographing / documenting Wildlife on field during and after the DCP workshops / expeditions. DCP aims at promoting welfare & conservation of wildlife through its workshops / expeditions and in turn expects its members to strictly follow the code of ethical conduct as laid down in its guidelines from time to time. The guidelines ensure safety for both the photographer & the subject.
- You must maintain a safe distance between you and your subject. If the animal changes its behavior suddenly, you should understand that you may be too close to your subject and hence need to move away. Try using a longer focal length lens than trying to go too near to the subject. This is for safeguard of both yourself and your subject.
- Never make deliberate sounds or noises to distract wildlife with an intention to make a great image. The best of the wildlife photographs are made of natural action.
- Preventing escape of a wild animal should be thoroughly discouraged. It not only harasses the animal but also may put photographer’s life in danger as well.
- Don’t indulge in any kind of bait photography. Baiting or feeding may cause infections / disease or even death of your subject.
- Don’t take nesting photographs. Never encroach on nests or dens as certain species may abandon their young ones in the nest once they get disturbed by human presence.
- Never handle a wildlife specimen on your own unless accompanied by an expert and in case a subject needs to be handled it should be done for educating / learning purpose or for a scientific study. Do not take any wildlife specimen with you for photographing later in studio conditions. You may invoke action against you under Wildlife protection (Amendment) Act, 2002.
- Captive animal photography is not encouraged by DCP. Also never take photographs of wildlife specimen kept within restricted enclosures in any form.
- Limit the use of call recordings for attracting birds. Don’t overuse such methods. Dont use for attracting any species that is threatened, endangered or is of special concern in the region.
- Don’t destroy natural habitat by off-roading vehicles. Stay on roads, treks, trails or paths where they exist in order to keep habitat disturbance to a minimum level.
- You must make yourself thoroughly acquainted with the habits, behavior and ecosystems of the wildlife you may encounter. Read enough. Study them.
- Observe and also educate all relevant rules & regulations while photographing in National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries or Conservation parks. Be an exemplary ethical role model for the group & others around you. Teach through word and action.
- If you witness an unethical behavior, assess the situation and intervene prudently, inform / report the incident to the Expert / Group leader accompanying you, if you are alone than you may document the incident and report the same to DCP Management for appropriate action.
Issued by - Team DCP