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Saturday, 19 January 2008

Wildlife on Principal

I've always been driven by a desire to portray wild life forms, undisturbed in their natural habitat and I consider it a great privilege when I have the opportunity to observe animal behaviour in its natural environment. I have never photographed animals in any form of captivity, restraint or distress.

I hunt quietly and unobtrusively with a camera and if I can't get a shot there will always be another time.

Having got that off my chest I'll briefly explain my attitude. I grew up on my Father's farm in the 1950s when life was very different from today. Hunting, shooting and fishing were very much a part of life and I certainly did my fair share of each. My boyhood dream was to be a gamekeeper and it wasn't until I became one that I realised it was the lifestyle and environment that attracted me rather than the shooting of game. Along with numerous disagreements with the head keeper about just what level of threat some of the so called vermin species really constituted to a pheasant reared in captivity, the proverbial straw was the issue of pole traps around rearing pens.

For the benefit of readers who don't know how it worked, pheasant chicks were hatched under broody hens in closed and protected cages. When they were old enough they were transferred to rearing pens in the estate forests where they were afforded a degree of protection prior to full release in the autumn. In those days it was the practise of some to set juby traps on the tops of the fence poles. These traps are a pair of sprung metal jaws with a release plate at their centre and anything landing on it was caught by the legs and found hanging upside down from the top of the pole the next morning.

I was taught that when contemplating an action likely to affect something else, I should first think about it from the something else's point of view and decide if it was a reasonable plan of action. Well I can't speak for others but I don't think I would want to spend any amount of time hanging like that and as the only thing these traps ever seemed to catch were Owls; which are not the remotest threat to pheasants of that age, I could see no justification for the practise and said so.

Well, my days as a gamekeeper were numbered and I eventually moved on; but the value of the lesson was a respect for all life forms. Don't get the impression that I'm some airhead in green wellies who thinks everybody should live on carrots because I'm not. I don't have a problem with deer stalking, fishing etc., either as population control or for the pot but I don't see killing anything as a sport and I don't see captive wild animals as an easy photo' opportunity.
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.