Specialist for biology – Pranay Bhatnagar
If you want to know more about Pranay click here.
Photos are all taken by the author and are his intellectual property.
It is extremely crucial to understand the necessity of wildlife conservation before our community runs out of time. Each species plays a very vital role to maintain the ecological balance on Earth. Even if a single species, being a part of the web, is rendered extinct, it can be hazardous to the ecosystem and can even lead to a concatenation of events towards human extinction. One of the many means to stimulate people’s senses towards conservation biology is through combining both the visual and the psychological elements which can be achieved through wildlife photography.
Though majority of the individuals lack basic awareness towards wildlife conservation and are even unknowingly detrimental to the same. Collective consciousness towards the concern can be built in crowds by making them understand the significant role humans play as the most conscious species on the planet. Even a small proportion of people, which isn’t conscious towards the subject, can be seriously malefic for the motive and therefore only a unified approach where the people of all age groups are collectively conscious towards this subject will turn out to be truly successful. This can be easily achieved by tuning into the factors which are most responsible for molding our consciousness on a daily basis like social media and television, which are majorly driven by photography, documentaries and advertisements.
A wildlife photographer has the ability to educate the audience about the beauty of the wild by enabling them to look at all living beings with a new esthetically pleasing perspective, therefore controlling their thoughts and emotions. There are two prime means of doing so, first is by bringing visual treats of unseen, rare and threatened species from all around the world where it’s almost impossible for the vast majority of audience to be physically present and the second is by highlighting the usually subconsciously ignored life like insects through macro photography (Image 1) and the species which the audience encounters just about regularly like urban birds (Image 2). Science and data on the other hand have no influential weight on the emotional aspect.
A vast number of published studies are biased towards certain taxa like mammals and birds, therefore influencing conservation awareness of the underrepresented groups like insects, arachnids and herpetofauna, especially in a country like India, where the subject is still pursued only by a very small fraction of the population. But with wildlife photography the much needed attention to these cryptic taxa (Image 3; Image 4) can be rightly brought, making the public aware of their existence and therefore influencing research and funding for them.
Mass awareness generation towards conservation biology is pivotal which in the current scenario can only be achieved through social media platforms and television which have become the most impactful aspects associated with our daily lives. Mass media programs and advertisements which air regularly, generating awareness for overrepresented species, should be extended for other neglected wildlife too.