Photographs and videos are a centrepiece of the work at Exposed Wildlife Conservancy (EWC). We firmly believe that visual storytelling is an impactful and meaningful way to create connections between us and the world's natural places. As a result, we are committed to ensuring that the photographs and videos used by EWC are ethically obtained and that the photographers and videographers themselves are ethically-based and conservation-focused. The following outlines our Photography Code of Ethics that regulates our Ambassador program.
This controversial episode of EXPOSED expands on our look into the incredibly cruel and inhumane practice of snaring -- diving deeper into trapping’s direct impact on wolves, family pets, and perhaps surprisingly, to your wallet.
Our Code of Ethics is a tool to assist EWC in navigating through the complex challenges of ethics in photography. As a result, these policies serve as a guideline and will be monitored and updated regularly. We will use our best judgment to decide if a photo or video meets these guidelines. If we make an error and fail to ensure that this policy is followed, EWC will remove the photograph and/or video while acknowledging our error and learning from our mistake. We are open and committed to ensuring this practice is followed; therefore, please let us know if you think we are not being accountable or failing to adhere to our policies.
At EWC, the welfare of wildlife comes first. We believe that humans have a huge impact on wildlife and it is our responsibility to ensure that we do everything possible to not cause any harm or suffering to wildlife. We understand that it is not possible to have no effect; however, we look to minimize our impact on wildlife as much as possible by adhering to the following practices:
We follow Parks Canada’s guidelines to stay a minimum of 30 meters (3 bus lengths) away from any non-predatory animals. For predators, such as bears and wolves, we keep a distance of at least 100 meters. With this being said, if the animal is showing us that it prefers a larger distance between it and ourselves, we will honour this and keep a further distance.
We plan ahead for our expeditions and ensure that we are knowledgable about animal behaviour prior to going into the field. This includes knowing signs of distress, vocalizations, etc. of the wildlife you are photographing. We bring gear like telephoto lenses, binoculars, extenders to give us necessary distance and blend into the environment as much as possible by using tactics such as blinds or camouflage (if allowed in places you are photographing).
We do not use flash photography, drones, artificial animal calls, sounds, or baiting to draw animals closer to the camera. We will not alter the environment for our own personal gain such as cutting down trees or foliage for the perfect shot. We take photos of animals in their natural environments that are behaving as naturally as possible. We take extra care around nesting and den sites and do not share the location of denning animals with others.
We ensure that we are familiar with natural animal behaviours and are able to identify when the animal is showing signs of discomfort and unease or modifying their behaviour because of our presence. If this is the case, we cease taking photographs and remove ourselves from the situation. We avoid spending more than a few hours with wildlife to prevent their habituation toward us. We will not interfere with any animal while it is breeding, feeding, nesting, or caring for its offspring and avoid altering the animal’s behaviour – ideally leave them in same situation we first saw them in (whether foraging, sleeping, sleeping, etc.).
The images and videos of wildlife are taken in a purely natural environment. This means photos are not taken of captive or confined wildlife that are found in Sanctuaries, research facilities, rehabilitation centres, etc.
We take steps to ensure our impact is minimal on the environment when photographing and videoing wildlife. This includes cleaning up after ourselves, staying on marked paths, leaving no trace, and taking a generally proactive approach to reducing our footprint.
Before sourcing images and videos, we check to ensure that they are sourced ethically by individuals, organizations, etc. that embody and adhere to EWC’s Guiding Principles and Code of Ethics. When using external sources for our photos and videos, such as through our Ambassador Program, we will obtain consent prior to posting and will adhere to agreed-upon crediting requirements.
When editing a photograph or video of wildlife, it must not be dramatically altered from the original. This is to prevent misrepresentation of the image and story being relayed. General editing such as white-balance, exposure, contrast, cropping, etc. is okay. Dramatic altering such as adding elements to the scene, sky replacements, composites, etc. are not allowed. We may also not share the location of where a photograph or video was taken to avoid putting the animal in harm's way.