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Photographing adders wrong?

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Category: News
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URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5056
Printed Date: 12 Dec 2017 at 10:29am
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Topic: Photographing adders wrong?
Posted By: Hawley
Subject: Photographing adders wrong?
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2016 at 3:44pm
Is taking photos of adders wrong??  Interesting article in todays Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/13/animal-cruelty-death-camera-phone-selfie-giant-python 



Replies:
Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 13 Apr 2016 at 8:09pm
Of course it's not wrong. What is wrong is disturbing animals when taking photographs. I have been where that photographer was - and his statement re adders is bang to rights. Like him I grew out of it and came to my senses - now even my animals at home are photographed without disturbance with a long lens.
Chris


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Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2016 at 7:06pm
I've no doubt that photographing adders can significantly disturb them and cause small populations in particular to abandon traditional hibernacula etc - this has happened in Epping Forest, for example.  A friend of mine was photographing an adder (from a path, with a long lens) in the Forest a week or two ago when a party approached him and asked if they could also photograph the snake.  He agreed (what else could he do?) at which the 'leader' proceeded to hook the snake out of the vegetation and plonk it in front of the rest of them, so they could get their photos.  The doubtless traumatised animal was then replaced after the party were satisfied.  OK, so this is not as bad as adder-bashing that happened more often in the past, and if adders were common it might not be so bad, but many populations are isolated and fragmented and as such pressure from photographers could be the final nail in their coffins.  There was talk of raising the protected status of the adder to that of smooth snake and sand lizard a while ago, in which case it would require a licence to approach them for photography, but I've not heard any more about this for a while.


Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2016 at 7:30am
Hi will that proves to me that lots of shots are stage managed and not real unposed ones like some of mine in the past, and of course Epping forrest of today gets to much traffic and there seems to be some one there at all times even in the once isolated glades tramping through or dog walkers letting them off leads apart from night and day time revellers drinking and shagging going by some of their litter they leave dangling in the beer can strewn bushes!.

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   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 29 Jun 2016 at 5:51pm
Well, recently I was on holiday down Devon and on the way back from the beach I spotted this little beauty crossing the path and took a quick snap from about four feet away. She was trying to climb up the steeper side of the path opposite from where it had come from. Now I posted this pic on facebook and got absolutely slaughtered for posing an Adder. They accused me of everything, from dropping it to flicking it and more. I explained that I have taken hundreds of photos of Adders and usually from a 400mm + 1.6 adaptor type range and still I got stick. Its a shame all these amateurs are now giving the genuine studyists (if that's a word) a bad name!

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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 29 Jun 2016 at 5:55pm
Hi Chris, I can't get photos to load from files, is there a problem with the soft ware?

Rob

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RobV


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2016 at 6:43pm

Hi Rob

Sorry for the delay in replying - I missed your question.

No problem that I am aware of. I will post this with an adder shot I took at one of our Sussex sand lizard sites - again, with a long lens from several feet away with no disturbance. If you see a piccie - it works OK!




All the best
Chris


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Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2016 at 10:15am


Hi Chris,

no it just says the doc name, then if I try to upload it again, it says doc previously uploaded...

Rob

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RobV


Posted By: Robert V
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2016 at 10:16am
Ahhhhh,

weird, its done it now :-)

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RobV


Posted By: Iowarth
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2016 at 12:29pm
There's nothing like predictability................. and in this case it definitely was nothing like predictability!! Nice shot by the way.
Chris


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Chris Davis, Site Administrator

Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2016 at 2:58am
Though I would concur with Will that photography could and most likely would add additional pressure to an isolated adder population and even could result in an eventual extinction... ... a word of caution.

I have increasingly heard 'pressure of photographers' being stated as a cause for declines on mismanaged sites. Danbury Common in Essex being an example. The decline was caused by poorly managed and badly executed habitat works (read site clearance). This I warned against over a decade ago.

Though the main hibernaculum is well known to local photographers the usual time for them to visit is during the male lying out period in the spring. I have rarely ever seen a male adder at this time do anything but return to its favourite spot soon after being 'disturbed'.

I have often taken pictures of adders with macro lens with their noses less than a foot from the lens. No disturbance, simply the field craft to know where to lie down on the ground and wait for them to arrive.

For sure I've known the odd 'photographer' who expects one not only to show them where to find the animals but also to hook the animals out of the habitat to pose them for a perfect shot lol.

So though I agree we have a responsibility to not disturb adder unduly, I do caution that it is becoming an increasingly popular excuse among the 'conservationists' who regularly fail miserably at their give task to blame the pressure of photographers for their own doings.

PS the clay pond is doing very well, we regularly have large frogs visiting after the introduction. Fingers crossed for spawn in the spring!


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2016 at 5:00pm
Hello Gemma, funny time to emerge from hibernationLOL!  nice to have you back.
 
I agree absolutely - the case in Epping Forest is perhaps extreme, when you get a combination of a well-known site which is already fragmented and close to a centre of high human population.  Mismanagement is often the initial cause of the isolation / fragmentation and then the photographers or buzzards or pheasants or whatever are the final nail in the coffin.  Ideally, of course, the initial fragmentation would be avoided!


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2016 at 6:36pm
lol Will, yep is odd, should be snuggling down for a long winter sleep!

Absolutely, many of us have seen the pattern, isolated islands of habitat left after management works making it easy for people and predators to find the animals. At Danbury Common the adjacent Backwarden reserve was a typical example. Clearance work removed many 'satellite' hibernacula that were known to me. The animals became concentrated at a single bank, a place well known to the photographers. This was OK for many years before the substantial clearance of surrounding habitat as many adder remained well hidden and undisturbed, when though this bank became the last 'lifeboat' for the population the writing was on the wall.


Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2016 at 8:54pm
Gemma, great to hear from you again and good to hear that your pond is thriving. hope your lizard colony is doing well also.



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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2016 at 9:31pm
Lizards are doing well Suz, we've tried a slow worm introduction, animals from a local development that was poorly mitigated so we felt obliged to get off what we knew was there. They all disappeared in the hot weather though, so not sure yet if they have established in the garden!



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