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on May 16, 2014 in Wildlife Photography

Endangered Species Day – A Day to …

San Joaquin Kit Fox 0094

Yeap, it’s Endangered Species day. A day annually used to celebrate those species we have put in jeopardy of disappearing forever from this earth. Kinda seems like an odd thing to celebrate. Yes, there are some pretty cool, big, glamorous success stories since Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in ’73 recognizing that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” While the Bald Eagle, Wolf, California Condor, some of the original members of the endangered species act have done pretty well, many others, a lot more aren’t doing all that well. Sadly, many have totally disappeared, what we call blinked out. I think the fact that we have one day a year set aside in the hopes of reminding the public there are endangered species speaks volumes.

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Back in 2002, on a dark and cold night in the San Joaquin Valley, I pulled off the highway and illegally parked along with a couple of biologists. Well after midnight we headed up the dust covered hillside walking through the burnt offerings that were just weeks before carpets of gorgeous wildflowers. Literally turning over every leaf, we were in search for the Doyen’s Dune Weevil, a state and internationally listed species. Smaller than a grain of rice, looking for it in the dark, during the few days it can be found above ground was literally a shot in the dark. After hours, one individual was located. You see one of the photos from that night above (and as far as I know, one of the last photos of it). And while I totally suck as an insect photographer, the impact of trying to educate a public why something so small, so hard to find should be saved from extinction was then and is still now quite overwhelming to me.

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It’s much easier to get folks excited about cute species like the San Joaquin Kit Fox, one of the original listed species (above, and one of the species not doing so well). Or perhaps a pretty butterfly like the Carson Wandering Skipper (above) thought to be extinct than rediscovered. Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom created a huge tapestry of a natural world that without every little thread it slowly unravels and can’t stay intact. This is YOUR wild heritage that we are so incredibly fortunate was left to us to enjoy, cherish and celebrate. All creatures great and small are in our care and we owe those before us and those who come after us the same opportunity to witness these wonders. You have the power in your cameras to make a difference. Make that photo, share it, you CAN change the world!