1 hour ago
Here is a peek at my film, “In the Shadows of Lions,” which is out on 2/27 via @matadornetwork.
In the intro, there are aerial shots with zebras and a giraffe running. These were captured from a hot air balloon on a telephoto lens, as I do not drone wildlife. The balloons don’t drop to find animals, so the only time you’re close to the ground is at the beginning or end of a flight, which is when I got most of my shots. The balloons quickly rise to 1,000 feet on regular flight paths, so it can legitimately be argued that they don’t disturb animals in parks/reserves any more than a bush plane or safari truck.
I watched the first rains bring the ungulates back to the Serengeti, and massive herds of zebras and wildebeest galloped around during our game drives. I saw a lioness with cubs, and on my last day, a leopard in a tree. Our guide stuck to the roads, but many others broke the law to get shots of the big cat. There were about FORTY Land Cruisers crowding the leopard and chasing it off road, with some guests yelling at their guides to get closer. While off road laws vary, you are not supposed to harass animals (or drive recklessly and destroy the habitat of other creatures). For viewings, the general rule is 1-2 vehicles per leopard, and 2-4 per lion.
The animals ARE habituated to cars, and IF the rules are being followed, it doesn’t affect their ability to hunt, sleep or care for their young. Most don’t even give rattling SUVs on the roads a second glance. However, this all changes when humans get too close. If you’re chasing down animals and subsequently endangering their lives for likes and ultimately, for financial gain via Instagram, that makes you an especially soulless human. If people call you out and you delete comments and keep the post up, which is what we all saw a few days ago, that’s even more disgusting. I am not opposed to droning wildlife for conservation purposes (herding or filming for a legit org/publication), but it must be done in an expert manner. Much of what’s on IG does not qualify, as the drone pilots know nothing about animal behavior or the environment. Know better, and DO BETTER — or get off this app.