Bird photography code of ethics

We snagged this list of wildlife code of ethics from Annette Herz on the SBB Listserve and liked it so much we wanted to share it with our readers too:

Wildlife Code of Ethics

1. First and foremost, view wildlife from a safe distance for both you and them. Respect their spatial needs. If the animal interrupts its behavior (resting, feeding, etc.), then you are too close and must distance yourself.

2. Never force an action. Be patient! The most beautiful photographs result from natural action.

3. Never come between a parent and its offspring. I've seen tiny bear cubs distressed, treed then separated from their mother by a throng of tourists eager for a closer look. This is unacceptable behavior.

4. Never crowd, pursue, prevent escape, make deliberate noises to distract, startle or harass wildlife. This is stressful and wastes valuable energy in needless flight. The impact is cumulative. Consider that you may be the 65th person to yell "hey moose" at that animal that day while it's attempting to tend to its young.

5. Never feed or leave food (baiting) for wildlife. Habituation due to handouts can result in disease or even death of that animal and injury to you.

6. Never encroach on nests or dens as certain species will abandon their young.

7. Never interfere with animals engaged in breeding, nesting, or caring for young.

8. Learn to recognize wildlife alarm signals and never forget that these animals are NOT tame no matter how docile or cuddly they appear. No one would argue that you should not try to pet a bull yet there have been numerous instances where a tourist attempted to have his/her photo taken next to a bison with disastrous consequences.

9. Do not damage or remove any plant, life form or natural object. Do pack out trash.

10. Acquaint yourself with and respect the behaviors and ecosystems of the wildlife you may encounter. By doing so, you will enrich your experience tremendously.

11. Finally, and most significant, remember that the welfare of the subject and habitat are irrefutably more important than the photograph.

How you can help, right now