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CODE OF ETHICS

As conservation photographers our first priority is always the respect and welfare of the environment, animals, people, and communities that we are documenting through our work.

To ensure that our actions in the field reflect this, and that our published content is an accurate and honest representation of what we experienced (witnessed), our members abide by the following code of conduct:

OUR SUBJECTS COME FIRST

 

  • Never pursue, follow or bother an animal that is visibly stressed or afraid.

  • Be particularly mindful when photographing breeding animals. Minimize disturbances around dens, nests, etc. and be alert to the effect of your presence on their behaviours. 

  • As a general rule, do not use call recordings to attract or to get a reaction from an animal as this may stress an animal causing them to alter their natural behaviours.

  • Be particularly wary of using bait to attract an animal. Whereas baiting within the context of a scientific study or installing a bird feeder may be regarded as ethical, for example, using food to attract mammals and birds of prey can lead them to become habituated to humans, which in turn can ultimately lead to the animal’s demise. 

  • Keep a respectable distance from and avoid deliberately bothering nocturnal animals that are resting during the day. 

  • When using drones, always keep a respectable distance from animals, especially birds, and always be alert to their reactions to the drone.

  • Always consider the impact that using a flash at night could have on an animal and avoid using flash on nocturnal birds or animals that could be injured or disoriented as a result of a sudden burst of light.

  • Be mindful of disclosing the location of particular animals, especially rare, endangered, or breeding wildlife. Sharing locations, whether privately or publicly, can attract swarms of people to an area causing stress to the wildlife/ecosystem and even get into the hands of those who might want to cause the animal harm. 

 

LEAVING AS LITTLE A FOOTPRINT AS POSSIBLE

 

  • Abide by the seven “leave no trace” principles 

  • Always be mindful of our surroundings, both on land or underwater. Do not damage vegetation to obtain your photograph and avoid touching fragile plants and corals. 

  • When applicable, stay on trails as much as possible as to avoid trampling vegetation, spreading invasive species and contributing to erosion. 

  • Do not litter and be mindful of contaminants you may unintentionally be leaving behind. 

 

RESPECTING OTHERS 

 

  • Always treat clients, coworkers, authorities, and members of the public with respect and professionalism.

  • Respect the established rules, laws, curfews and policies of specific properties, places and areas, whether they are private or public.

  • Be extra mindful of the noise we are making (closing car doors, speaking on the phone, etc.) and try to always keep voices low so as to not disturb wildlife and others.

 

POST-PROCESSING IMAGES & DISSEMINATING WRITTEN INFORMATION

 

  • Digital manipulation will never be used to purposely deceive an audience by altering an image to a point where it no longer truthfully reflects the scene as it was first observed and captured by the photographer. Any considerable digital manipulation must always be fully disclosed by the photographer.

  • We must always ensure that the information in our captions and other written materials is truthful and accurate. All statements and information must be carefully fact-checked for accuracy and obtained from reliable sources. As often as possible, outside professionals & specialists should be interviewed and the information provided rightfully attributed. Everyone involved in a story must be given an opportunity to express themselves. 

  • Any and all photographs of captive animals must be clearly disclosed as such in the picture's caption. We do not promote animals being held captive for profit or entertainment and will only publish images of captive animals if their situation is relevant to a particular story.