These are a series of photos I took while visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is a huge sponsor in conservation and wildlife release projects. Each of these creatures has a story to tell about how they have a place on Earth, the scary decline of their species, and most importantly a way we can help save them. All photos were taken with an Olympus OM-D camera and an Olympus 12-200mm lens. They were cropped and enhanced with Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop.
The white ibis is a water, or wetlands, bird found throughout the northeastern United States from Virginia all the way to the gulf coastal area (The Cornell Lab, 2022). They are very amusing to watch, are not very fearful of human interaction, and will steal your fries right off your plate if given the chance! Although not listed as endangered, their habitat is slowly disappearing as we over-develop the land and pollute the waters.
Snow geese have many shades, ranging from pure white with only a few dark wing feathers to an array of dark to gray feathers stretching from their wings right down to their tail feathers. In the early 1900’s, the government outlawed hunting of these birds because of a decline in population (The Cornell Lab, 2022); however, due to a lack of a natural predator, the species is becoming over-populated and threatening the tundra biome. All species need a balance of predator and prey, with keystone species being paramount for stability in nature.
Black-necked swans are native to South America but also found residing in the southern areas of North America (San Francisco Zoo, 2022). They are social birds, preferring to mate for life with a proper suitor, and tend to be very docile around humans; however, they will become territorial during breeding season and the male will attack other male swans that come into their territory. Whenever approaching any bird in the wild, remember that you may be encroaching on their territory at a delicate time in their cycle. If they act aggressively, you are the transgressor and should maintain a respectable distance.
Sunda, or Sumatran, tigers are located within the country of Indonesia; however, there is only an estimated 400 existing in the wild at this time (World Wildlife Foundation, 2022). Deforestation and poaching are slowly, but surely killing off these beautiful cats. Thankfully, the government of the island of Sumatra are enforcing harsh sentences for hunters and transgressors including extreme monetary fines and even jail time if caught. Meanwhile, conservation groups are fighting to preserve the last vestiges of the rain forests in Indonesia, which is this kitty’s natural habitat.
The Asian water buffalo does resemble a cow, but on a much larger scale! Humans have domesticated these creatures for the use of milking and heavy chores on ranches and farms. Unfortunately, wild water buffalo are endangered due to their domesticated siblings as they compete for land and water access. As waterways are an absolute necessity for these creatures, they find themselves contending fresh waterways as ranchers and farmers expand their working territory. This also leads to habitat fragmentation and crossbreeding with the domesticated buffalo.
You may ask yourself, “What can we do to save these creatures?” You are already on that path if you’ve read these stories. The best way to start is to change your day-to-day decisions by learning about the impact it may cause. Make sure to follow the idea of ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ both in your home and when you go out, visit a local park or nature walk and pick up the any trash you may see on the path, take your family to a zoo or nature reserve and learn about the creatures and plants that are native to your area. The more involved with nature you become, the more you will want to preserve it for everyone.
Links to Conservation Ideas:
Audubon: 10 Things You Can Do For Birds
National Ocean Service: Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth
ShareAmerica: Top 10 Ways to Save Wildlife
San Francisco Zoo. (2022). Black-necked Swan. Retrieved from San Francisco Zoo & Gardens: https://www.sfzoo.org/black-necked-swan/
The Cornell Lab. (2022). Snow Goose. Retrieved from All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snow_Goose/overview
The Cornell Lab. (2022). White Ibis. Retrieved from All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White_Ibis/id
World Wildlife Foundation. (2022). Sunda Tiger. Retrieved from World Wildlife Foundation: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/sunda-tiger