Thank you 2017!

Following in the tradition of the past, I would like to take this time to thank the people and organizations which made 2017 an amazing photographic year!

People

The first shoot of 2017 was to photograph some of the conservation activities of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. In the east bay, their attention is focused on helping Western Snowy Plovers increase their chances of higher chick survival.

Thank you Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl for meeting me at the crack of dawn, for your positive spirits, and for doing the great conservation work you have committed your lives to.

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Ben Pearl and Karine Tokatlian, spreading oystershells in salt pond, which snowy plovers can use for camouflage, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Ben Pearl and Karine Tokatlian, spreading oystershells in salt pond, which snowy plovers can use for camouflage, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

Next came my annual trip to South America for the Cat in Thin Air project. I was met in Argentina by now very good friends and Andean Mountain Cat biologists, Juan Reppucci and Cintia Tellaeche. This year, bird biologist Alejandro Schaaf joined us in the Andes as well. I can’t thank all of you enough for your extreme generosity. You volunteered your time, your strength, your willpower, your persistence, and your constant english speaking. Thank you. And thank you for your friendship, it means the world to me. Finally, Juani, that Ibera trip was such a blast.

Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologists, Cintia Tellaeche and Juan Reppucci, with Alejandro Schaaf and myself, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologists, Cintia Tellaeche and Juan Reppucci, with Alejandro Schaaf and myself, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

From Argentina, the journey continued on to Chile, where I partook in a puma photography workshop with the ever funny Roy Toft. The other participants included Sharell and Robert Katibah. Saying that we had a good time would be a major understatement. I want to say thank you to Roy for your generosity in allowing me to participate in the workshop as you did. Thank you for always being the comedian that you are and for never taking things to seriously. It was an experience I will never ever forget, and hope to do again sooner than later. Thank you my friend.

Roy Toft being Roy Toft

Roy Toft being Roy Toft

Thank you Rel and Rob for your constant positivity, for the great conversations, for being troopers in the field, and for your friendship. I already look forward to seeing you again, which will hopefully be sooner than later!

Sharell Katibah, smiling....as always.

Sharell Katibah, smiling….as always.

Rob Katibah. Nothing ever seemed to heavy for you!

Thank you Dania Valery Goic Mac-Leod for your extreme hospitality, your care, and your amazing food. What your family is doing for puma conservation is truly remarkable!

Dania Valery Goic Mac-Leod trying to not smile too hard.

Dania Valery Goic Mac-Leod trying to not smile too hard.

Javiera Vargas, Junior Mendes (sadly not pictured), and Marcos Felix, without your knowledge and keen eyes, I would have never seen a puma. You are all remarkable!

Thank you 2017

Javiera Vargas

Marcos Felix

Back home, I started to work on an urban coyote project near Boston. During that time, fellow Urban Coyote Initiative member, Ivan Kuraev, became a good friend. Thank you Ivan for all the fun conversations, for enduring, for your enthusiasm, and for all your help.

Ivan Kuraev being an upright coyote test-subject for a camera trap.

Ivan Kuraev being an upright coyote test-subject for a camera trap.

In late summer, I had the privilege of an assignment in Kafue National Park, Zambia, one of Panthera’s cheetah and lion conservation sites. I spent a month there and have lots of people to thank for that trip. Can’t wait to see all of you again this summer!!!

Thank you Kim Young-Overton for your infectious smile, positive attitude, mindfulness, work ethic, and friendship. The way you wrangle two playful boys while achieving amazing conservation work was incredible to watch. And also, thank you for your kindness!

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Kim Young-Overton, placing camera trap on tree, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Kim Young-Overton, placing camera trap on tree, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Thank you Jake Overton, for constantly being willing to answer all my questions, for helping with the camera traps, and for being such a willing model. And the same goes for you Evans Nsende!

African Leopard (Panthera pardus) biologists, Jake Overton and Evans Nsende, collecing scat, Kafue National Park, Zambia

African Leopard (Panthera pardus) biologists, Jake Overton and Evans Nsende, collecing scat, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Xia Stevens, there are almost too many thank yous I owe you. Thank you for putting up with me for a month, for the amazing conversations, for your great attitude (I think your mom has something to do with that!), for driving me everywhere, for always being willing to go after the shot, for your dedicated conservation work, and for your genuine friendship. For being so nice and generous, you get to put up with me again in the summer.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Xia Stevens, checking camera trap, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Xia Stevens, checking camera trap, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Thank you Christopher Muduwa and Timbo Frackson for your constant smiles, your incredible knowledge, your keen eyes, and your ability to ignore the camera. Watching you track was a pleasure to watch!

African Lion (Panthera leo) trackers, Christopher Muduwa and Timbo Frackson, looking at female lion tracks during transect, with biologists, Xia Stevens and Evans Nsende, looking for herbivores, Kafue National Park, Zambia

African Lion (Panthera leo) trackers, Christopher Muduwa and Timbo Frackson, looking at female lion tracks during transect, with biologists, Xia Stevens and Evans Nsende, looking for herbivores, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Your meals were incredible Gladys Shabula. I recently tried to make the beats you cooked up one day and failed miserably. The corn pancakes more than lived up to their reputation and how you made sushi in the African bush still baffles me.

Gladys Shabula

Thanks for always looking out for camp and in turn us Samuel!

Samuel, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Thank you David Findlay for the boat ride, for all the conversations, and for being so invested in conservation!

David Findlay

David Findlay

Thank you to everyone at ZCP, including Caz Sanguinetti, Milan Vinks, veterinarian, Kambwiri Banda, and biologist, Jonah Gula, for allowing me to photograph both the cheetah and lion collaring. Both are experiences I will never forget!

African Lion (Panthera leo) biologists, Caz Sanguinetti, Milan Vinks, veterinarian, Kambwiri Banda, and biologist, Jonah Gula, flipping six year old female lion during collaring, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Miriam Namushi, thank you for your generosity in allowing me to photograph the work of DNPW, for your diplomacy, and for your fight for conservation.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Kim Young-Overton, and DNPW regional director Miriam Namushi, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) biologist, Kim Young-Overton, and DNPW regional director Miriam Namushi, Kafue National Park, Zambia

It only took four years, but the three days I got to spend in the field with you Luke very incredible. Thank you for your unwavering support. For always caring, for the conversations, for your love of wild cats, for your drive for conservation. Watching you gently pet that road-killed genet is a moment that will always stick with me, your love for wildlife, including the individual animal being so evident. It’s a true honor knowing you.

Rusty-spotted Genet (Genetta maculata) male killed on road, examined by biologist, Luke Hunter, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Rusty-spotted Genet (Genetta maculata) male killed on road, examined by biologist, Luke Hunter, Kafue National Park, Zambia

The photographic year closed out with a trip to the Channel Islands in southern California, to photograph the fastest species recovery in history — that of the island fox.

I was honored to join Jaymi Heimbuch and her partner Nick Ferber in this endeavor and I want to thank you both! Thank you for your positive outlook on collaborating, for working so effortlessly together, for holding flashes, yummy meals, and hilarious conversations.

Jaymi Heimbuch and Nick Ferber

Jaymi Heimbuch and Nick Ferber

Thank you also to both biologists, Julie King and Rebekah Rudy, for allowing three people to be in your face constantly while you make fox wrangling look easy. And of course for your continued work in keeping the foxes of the red list once more!

Santa Catalina Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) biologists, Julie King and Rebekah Rudy, releasing fox after vaccination and health check up, Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California

Santa Catalina Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) biologists, Julie King and Rebekah Rudy, releasing fox after vaccination and health check up, Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California

Organizations

This has been my fifth year working with Panthera and it has only been getting better every year. Panthera is the leading feline conservation group in the world. Their work is incredibly far reaching and impactful. Thank you for your continued work, fight, and push to save wild cats. You are making a difference, I see the changes on the ground. To the general public, please donate to them, if you are in any way interested in cat conservation. 100% of your donation will go directly into the field!

The Andean Cat Alliance is a multinational and interdisciplinary network founded in 1999 by professionals from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru to develop coordinated actions for the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat. They aspire to the conservation and long term maintenance of Andean cat populations and its habitat, in harmony with human populations. Having had the honor of getting to work with you, and now being a member of the alliance is something I deeply cherish. Thank you for your continued work on promoting the conservation of one of the world’s least known wild cats!

AndeanCatAlliance

The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through science and outreach. Founded in 1981, the Bird Observatory has produced over 30 years of scientific information on local bird populations, working with both government agencies and partner organizations. Thank you for allowing me into your world, for your dedication to the birds of the bay area, and for fighting for what you believe in!

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

Reviewing 2017

As is now tradition, I wanted to review the last year and see what goals I was able to accomplish from my bucket list. Last year was another fantastic 365 days! I traveled to three different countries leading to whole new adventures and experiences

I am including only the highlights from this year in this post (for the full list just click the link above). I am also only showing one or two images of each species/location, if you want to see all the pictures from that subject just click that name and the link will take you to the appropriate gallery.

Visit and or Explore
Andes (2015, 2016, 2017)

Reviewing 2017

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) in dry puna, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Zambia

Lechwe (Kobus leche) females in floodplain at dawn, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Lechwe (Kobus leche) females in floodplain at dawn, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Every South American Country (Bolivia 2015, Argentina 2015, 2016, 2017, Chile 2017)

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) female in front of mountains, Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) female in front of mountains, Torres del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Photograph
African Cheetah

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) twenty-one month old sub-adult female, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) twenty-one month old sub-adult female, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Geoffroy’s Cat

Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi), habituated female, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Geoffroy’s Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi), habituated female, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

African Lion

African Lion (Panthera leo) six year old male smelling air, Kafue National Park, Zambia

African Lion (Panthera leo) six year old male smelling air, Kafue National Park, Zambia

1000 bird species in the wild (I am at 294)

Wattled Crane (Grus carunculata) flying over floodplain, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Wattled Crane (Grus carunculata) flying over floodplain, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata), Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata), Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) flock taking flight, Amelia Island, Florida

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) flock taking flight, Amelia Island, Florida

300 mammal species in the wild (I am at 151)

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) sub-adults huddled together and sleeping, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) sub-adults huddled together and sleeping, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) buck feeding on aquatic plants in marsh with Cattle Tyrant (Machetornis rixosa) on back, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) buck feeding on aquatic plants in marsh with Cattle Tyrant (Machetornis rixosa) on back, Ibera Provincial Reserve, Ibera Wetlands, Argentina

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) three year old male feeding on male Puku (Kobus vardonii) kill, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) three year old male feeding on male Puku (Kobus vardonii) kill, Kafue National Park, Zambia

Every endangered or threatened animal in California (7 out of 130)

Santa Catalina Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) running, Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California

Photographed this threatened Santa Catalina Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) running, Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California last year.

Another spectacular year, which always gives me enthusiasm for making next year even better!

How about you, anything particular that you photographed in 2017 that you are really happy/proud of?

*If you are interested in purchasing any of the pictures displayed in this post, please check out my fine prints page for pricing.*

Incredible Women Wildlife Photographers

Edit: Please feel free to copy this post and add to wherever you like, its all about getting these women’s incredible work in front of as many people as possible!

Original Post:

The International League of Conservation Photographer‘s annual conference called WiLDSPEAK recently took place in Washington D.C. As always, leaving the event meant the mental batteries were re-charged and inspiration was running at full steam. Yet, there was one other glaring take away. Women are not only still largely under-represented in wildlife photography, but they are also incredibly under-appreciated.

Jodi Cobb was part of the programming, enlightening the audience with her work on Geishas and modern day slavery. Her photographs were absolutely stunning, her stories grippingly captivating. I sat there embarrassed. I had no idea who she was. She has completed over thirty stories for National Geographic, working for and with the magazine for over thirty years. I didn’t have the slightest clue. I was humiliated by my complete ignorance.

Now I realize that as a man, I have been afforded opportunities woman have not. And quite honestly, I feel very conflicted about writing this blog post in the first place. Is it appropriate for me as a male to write about the under-representation of females in the industry at all? The reason I ended up deciding to do so is that this is not about me, but rather about the many incredible women wildlife photographers who produce amazingly inspiring work and of whom everyone should be aware.

Please check out their work.

Suzi Eszterhas

Suzi Eszterhas

 

Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo

 

Morgan Heim

Morgan Heim

 

Krista Schlyer

Krista Schlyer

 

Esther Horvath

Esther Horvath

 

Cristina Mittermeier

Cristina Mittermeier

 

Jaymi Heimbuch

Jaymi Heimbuch

 

Jen Guyton

Jen Guyton

 

Karine Aigner

Karine Aigner

 

Susan McConnell

Susan McConnell - Incredible Women Wildlife Photographers

One thing that you may have noticed is that all of these women are not only wildlife photographers, but also conservation photographers. They are all using their images to raise awareness, save species, and fight for the planet. True heroes in my book!

Update December 7th, 2017 – I posted this list on Facebook yesterday and asked other’s to share their inspirational women photographers. The comments kept flooding in. It was tremendous. I want to include their suggestions here. I will update this list as more suggestions come in (leave them in the comments here!)

Update December 11th, 2017 – Since wildlife is or at the very least should be the top priority for all wildlife photographers, I am not adding links for photographers who bait or lure mammalian predators or raptors, including owls, or who promote game farm photography.

Listed in alphabetical order:

Jennifer Adler

Jennifer Adler

 

Karen Ann Sullivan

Karen Ann Sullivan

 

Ellen Anon

Ellen Anon

 

Cheryl Arena

Cheryl Arena

 

 

 

Bethany Augliere

Bethany Augliere

 

Sandra Bartocha

Sandra Bartocha

 

Bee-Elle

Bee-Elle

 

April Bencze

April Bencze

 

Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson

Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson

 

 

Sarah Blodgett

Sarah Blodgett

 

Janet Brown

Janet Brown

 

Alison Buttigieg

Alison Buttigieg

 

Trish Carney

Trish Carney

 

Jodi Cobb

Jodi Cobb

 

Brittany Crossman

Brittany Crossman

 

Ellen Cuylaerts

Ellen Cuylaerts

 

Barbara Dall’Angelo

Barbara Dall'Angelo

 

Jacqueline Deely

Jacqueline Deely

 

Anja Denker

Anja Denker

 

Carole Deschuymere

Carole Deschuymere

 

Isabel Diez

Isabel Diez

 

Carol Dilger

Carol Dilger

 

Laurie Dirkx

Laurie Dirkx

 

Alena Ebeling-Schuld

Alena Ebeling-Schuld

 

Eilo Elvinger

Eilo Elvinger

 

Melissa Farlow

Melissa Farlow

 

Katherine Feng

Katherine Feng

 

Stephanie Foote

Stephanie Foote

 

Teri Franzen

Teri Franzen

 

Carolina Fraser

Carolina Fraser

 

Jodi Frediani

Jodi Frediani

 

Colleen Gara

Colleen Gara

 

Daisy Gilardini

Daisy Gilardini

 

Cindy Goeddel

Cindy Goeddel

 

Annie Griffiths

Annie Griffiths

 

Amy Gulick

Amy Gulick

 

Jessica Hadley

Jessica Hadley

 

Orsolya Haarberg

Orsolya Haarberg

 

Hilary Hann

Hilary Hann

 

Cristina Harboe

Cristina Harboe

 

 

Jennifer Hayes

Jennifer Hayes

 

Hennie van Heerden

Hennie van Heerden

 

Tanya Houppermans

Tanya Houppermans

 

Denise Ippolito

Denise Ippolito

 

Marisa Ishimatsu

Marisa Ishimatsu

 

Rebecca R Jackrel

Rebecca R Jackrel

 

Britta Jaschinski

Britta Jaschinski

 

Aurélie Jacquet

Aurelie De Rus Jacquet

 

Cindy Jeannon

Cindy Jeannon

 

Beverly Joubert

Beverly Joubert

 

Amanda Joy 

Amanda Joy

 

Pamela Underhill Karaz

Pamela Underhill Karaz

 

Arati Kumar-Rao

Arati Kumar-Rao

 

Lauren Owens Lambert

Lauren Owens Lambert

 

Lisa Langell

Lisa Langell

 

Brianne Lehan

Brianne Lehan

 

Jennifer Leigh Warner

Jennifer Leigh Warner

 

Kathy Lichtendahl

Kathy Lichtendahl

 

Sally Mann

Sally Mann

 

Stephanie Manuel

Stephanie Manuel

 

Kerri Martin

Kerri Martin

 

 

Piper Mackay

Piper Mackay

 

Mia McPherson

Mia McPherson

 

Maggy Meyer

Maggy Meyer

 

Melyssa St. Michael

Melyssa St. Michael

 

Valerie Millet

Valerie Millet

 

Yva Momatiuk

Yva Momatiuk

 

Beata Moore

Beata Moore

 

Anette Mossbacher

Anette Mossbacher

 

Annie Marie Musselman

Annie Marie Musselman

 

Roberta Olenick

Roberta Olenick

 

Hob Osterlund

Hob Osterlund

 

Ann M. Pacheco

Ann M. Pacheco

 

Eilish Palmer

Eilish Palmer

 

Melissa Penta

Melissa Penta

 

Joanna B Pinneo

Joanna B Pinneo

 

Verena Popp-Hackner

Verena Popp-Hackner

 

Kari Post

Kari Post

 

Margot Raggett

Margot Raggett

 

 

Lynda Richardson

Lynda Richardson

 

Sam Rose Phillips

Sam Rose Phillips

 

Ellie Rothnie

Ellie Rothnie

 

Tui De Roy

Tui De Roy

 

Laurie Rubin

Laurie Rubin

 

Gabby Salazar

Gabby Salazar

 

Vicki Santello

Vicki Santello

 

Karin Saucedo

Karin Saucedo

 

Krisztina Scheeff

Krisztina Scheeff

 

Kristel Schneider

Kristel Schneider

 

Karen Schuenemann

Karen Schuenemann

 

Ashleigh Scully

Ashleigh Scully

 

Camille Seaman

Camille Seaman

 

Sandy Sisti

Sandy Sisti

 

Shayla Snowshoe

Shayla Snowshoe

 

Ann Toon

Ann Toon

 

Wendy Shattil

Wendy Shattil

 

Amy Shutt

Amy Shutt

 

Sarah Skinner

Sarah Skinner

 

Sylvia Spiro

Sylvia Spiro

 

Maggie Steber

Maggie Steber

 

Samantha Stephens

Samantha Stephens

 

Rachael Talibart

Rachael Talibart

 

Tara Tanaka

Tara Tanaka

 

Kika Tarsi Tuff

Kika Tarsi Tuff

 

Ingrid Taylar

Ingrid Taylar

 

Brenda Tharp

Brenda Tharp

 

Amy Toensing

Amy Toensing

 

 

Inger Vandyke

Inger Vandyke

 

Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale

 

Michele Westmorland

Michele Westmorland

 

Diana Whiting

Diana Whiting

 

Shannon Wild

Shannon Wild

 

Jessica Winter

Jessica Winter

 

 

Andy Wolcott

Andy Wolcott

Two New Species of Wild Cat

Two new species of wild cat have just been classified by the Cat Classification Task Force! This brings the total number of wild cats up to forty species. The two new species are the African Wild Cat(Felis lybica) and Sunda Leopard Cat(Prionailurus javanensis).

African Wild Cat

Arkive image - African wildcat stalking prey

The African Wild Cat (Felis lybica) was previously considered a subspecies of the European Wild Cat (Felis silvestris). It’s former scientific name was Felis silvestris lybica. It is found in Africa and Asia.

There are three tentative subspecies for this new species:
Felis lybica lybica – Found in east, west, and north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East, Corsica, Sardinia and Crete.
Felis lybica cafra – Found in southern Africa
Felis lybica ornata – Found in southwest and central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, and China.

Sunda Leopard Cat

Arkive photo - Leopard cat in mangrove habitat

The Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) was previously considered a subspecies of the newly re-named Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). It’s former scientific name was Prionailurus bengalensis javanensis. It is found in Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Panay, Philippines, and possibly the Malayan Peninsula.

There are two two recognized subspecies for this new species:
Prionailurus javanensis javanensis – Found in Java and Bali
Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus – Found in Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Panay, and the Philippines

It is important to recognize that these animals were not discovered in the traditional sense of finding previously unseen individuals in the field. Rather, taxonomists and geneticists determined through morphological, genetic, and biogeographical data that species previously thought to be the same, are in fact multiple species. With time, these findings may change again. Species may be lumped back into one, or split even further.

For the full list of the forty species of wild cat, including the two new additions, please see my list here.

Bibliography:

Cat News, Special Issue, Number 11, Winter 2017: A revised taxonomy of the Felidae

Thank you for 2016!

Following in the tradition of the past, I would like to take this time to thank the people and organizations which made 2016 an amazing photographic year!

People

In the beginning of the year, I worked a lot with the Santa Cruz Puma Project, which in fact was a continuation of working with them at the end of 2015. Having the privilege to photograph this stellar group of people was truly one I won’t ever forget. You have and continue to do amazing work for the pumas of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thank you so much!

I’d like to thank you Chris Wilmers for being open to me photographing the project activities. For making photography a priority of the project, and for sharing your time with me! This project will lead to extensive conservation actions being done for pumas in sub-urban environments. Thank you for continuing to push forward with the project!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Wilmers, using telemetry to determine if box trap has been triggered, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Wilmers, using telemetry to determine if box trap has been triggered, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Thank you Paul Houghtaling for dealing with the extra logistics of having me being on the team, for your patience, and for your conversations. For being one kick ass puma biologist! I will always cherish the hunts, the aerial tracking, and the den visits I got to share with you.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Paul Houghtaling, tracking mountain lions from airplane using telemtry, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Livermore, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Paul Houghtaling, tracking mountain lions from airplane using telemtry, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Livermore, California

Justine Alyssa Smith, I owe you so many thank yous. You were the first one I had the pleasure of working with from the SCPP. Without you, I would have never worked on the project at all. Thank you for taking the time to show me kill sites, for being an amazing conservationist, and a kick-ass biologist! Thank you for being such an accommodating model. I can’t wait to see what your future holds!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Justine Alyssa Smith, preparing anesthesia needle to sedate sub-adult male for collaring, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Justine Alyssa Smith, preparing anesthesia needle to sedate sub-adult male for collaring, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Thank you Max Allen for being such a hard core biologist. You put the biology first, and the amount of work you have accomplished is simply unbelievable. Thank you for sharing your research with me, I won’t ever forget it!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Max Allen, holding six week old male cub, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Max Allen, holding six week old male cub, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Sean McCain, thank you so much for taking the initiative multiple times to invite me on project activities. For always being game to model a shot, and for your dedication to the project. No job was too dirty for you, and it is something I very much respect! Thank you also for the conversations with Justine, I very much appreciated the honesty.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Sean McCain, setting up camera trap, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Sean McCain, setting up camera trap, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Thank you Chris Fust for allowing me to poke my camera in your face so willingly! One of my favorite moments will always be you singlehandedly pulling out 67M out of the box trap!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Fust, using telemetry to track mother and cubs, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Fust, using telemetry to track mother and cubs, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

I am so glad I was able to work with you, even for just a little bit Anna Nisi! I am so excited to see what exact project you choose and what your research career will turn into. Your kindness and generosity were more than apparent, even in just the two days we were able to be in the field together.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Anna Nisi, using telemetry to track female, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Anna Nisi, using telemetry to track female, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Troy Collinsworth. What a man you are. Thank you for all the rides, for the great conversations, for being such an amazing houndsman, and for sharing your trade with me. Your dogs are incredibly animals, and no-doubt a large part of it is due to you!

Houndsman, Troy Collinsworth, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Uvas Canyon County Park, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Houndsman, Troy Collinsworth, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Uvas Canyon County Park, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

 

As did in 2015, last years spring took me back to the high Andes of Argentina, to continue the work on the Cat in Thin Air project, which highlights the Andean Mountain Cat. This project will continue for many more years, but I would like to thank the people who were directly helping me in the field this year, since it was no easy task.

Juan Reppucci, there aren’t enough good things I can say about you. Thank you for being such a dear friend. For always being willing to help, for amazing conversations, for just being a good person. I am truly lucky to know you and I am happy that we will get to continue working on this and other projects together! I am saddened that we are not living closer, but I very much cherish our online conversations!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Juan Reppucci, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Juan Reppucci, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Cintia Tellaeche, you are just as amazing! Your kindness and your hard-coreness are remarkable. Your food dishes, especially your in-the-field pizzas, are beyond yummy, and your love for cats is beyond apparent!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Cintia Tellaeche, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Cintia Tellaeche, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

You know those people who are just beyond nice, go out of their way to help others, and volunteer their time to help a cause they believe in? That’s Deanna and Michael Clifford! So honored to have met you both. It was a true privilege to get to spend the time in the mountains with you. Thank you for your positive attitudes, caring so much about wildlife, staying in touch, and being simply awesome people.

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationists Michael and Deanna Clifford, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationists Michael and Deanna Clifford, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina — great shirts by the way!

Not in any way less amazing is Amy Alexander. Though we only had a couple of days in the field together Amy, your great outlook on life was beyond apparent, and your dedication to wildlife palpable. Thank you for lending me the money for the cab, for getting the gang back together in California, and for being the great paced hiker that you are!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist Amy Alexander, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist Amy Alexander, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Thank you Eliana Segura for your dedication to the Andean cats, for volunteering your time, for always having a smile on your face, and for putting up with my beyond-lack of spanish.

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Eliana Segura, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Eliana Segura, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Jorge Luiz, thank you so much for helping me with the camera traps, for carrying too much gear, for the bracelet you made me, and for your friendship, it is not something I take lightly!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Jorge Luiz, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Jorge Luiz, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Coming back to California, after the Andes, I was asked to photograph the research activities of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. The threatened snowy plover researchers Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl were nice enough to let me join as they banded three adorable plover chicks. Thank you Karine for being so welcoming, for your dedication to the plovers, for volunteering your time for the photography, and for being such a willing model. Ben, the same applies to you! Thank you two for the conversations, and the two great days on the salt ponds! (SFBBO is having a fund-raising drive for their snowy plover work, please consider donation so Karine and Ben can continue their conservation work!)

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl, warming and banding chicks, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl, warming and banding chicks, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

In the fall, I headed back to Kyrgyzstan to work along side Panthera’s powerhouse snow leopard team. It was a seven week long trip, and is one filled with conversations and experiences I will never ever forget. Living in close quarters for that amount of time either brings you together or breaks you apart. It was a true privilege to further strengthen relationships and make incredible new friendships.

First up is Shannon Kachel, who is the principal investigator of the snow leopard project in Kyrgyzstan. The adjectives to describe Shannon could be a page long, but some of the ones that stand out are determined, persistent, dedicated, intelligent, caring, understanding, hopeful, buff, fearless, academic, and a good friend. Thank you Shannon for allowing me to join the project one more time, for your patience, for your understanding, for really treasured conversations, for caring about snow leopards so deeply, and for doing things the right way. Miss you buddy! Also, you are too cool for a picture, so you get a video 🙂

Thank you Tanya Rosen for always being beyond supportive. For fighting for me to come back to Kyrgyzstan, for arranging so many of the logistics, and for your positive, well-rounded outlook on life!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Tanya Rosen, checking email in camp, Pikertyk, Tian Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Tanya Rosen, checking email in camp, Pikertyk, Tian Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Zair Kubanychbekov, thank you for your tireless efforts in saving snow leopards, for being a logistics guru, for the airport rides, for getting us unstuck, for your super positive outlook and for sharing your culture with me.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Zair Kubanychbekov, trying to get car unstuck, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Zair Kubanychbekov, trying to get car unstuck, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Ric for the hilarious conversations, for showing me some self defense moves without breaking my whole body, for fighting through the pain of a broken finger, for sharing the beyond delicious snacks, and for your friendship!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Ric Berlinski, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Ric Berlinski, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

A big thank you to you as well John Ochsenreiter, for the interesting conversations, for your help setting up the camera traps, for bringing the salt and pepper shaker, for giving me your sleeping bag (it was much needed) and for killing it with M1.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, John Ochsenreiter, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, John Ochsenreiter, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Rahim Kulenbek (doing the fun task of checking the temperature of m2 in the below picture) for your help with the camera traps, the honest conversations, for bringing in all that dried Yak poop for the fire, and for some delicious Tuna pasta!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Shannon Kachel, reading PIT tag during collaring of male snow leopard, with veterinarian, Ric Berlinski, biologist, Rahim Kulenbek, and ranger, Urmat Solokov, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Shannon Kachel, reading PIT tag during collaring of male snow leopard, with veterinarian, Ric Berlinski, biologist, Rahim Kulenbek, and ranger, Urmat Solokov, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

David, we got to spend a lot of time together and I enjoyed all of it. Thank you for putting up with my weirdness, for always being game, for not making fun of me when I was lagging behind, for your help with the camera traps, for not killing me on one of your chosen routes, and for the great conversations!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, David Cooper, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, David Cooper, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Dan Dahlgren for proving that age is not a limiting factor, for helping set up camera traps, for sharing the stove, for bringing the popcorn which we enjoyed long past your departure, for staying in touch, and for caring so much about snow leopards!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Dan Dahlgren, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Dan Dahlgren, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Aaron Wising, thank you for the ranging conversations, for supporting Shannon and the whole project, for being willing to take a break every time I needed one, and for carrying the camera trap up to the highest place we ever put one in Kyrgyzstan!!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Aaron Wirsing, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Aaron Wirsing, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

And finally, but in no way least important, thank you to all the rangers (including Mukhtar, Ulan, Urmat, Joky, Askat, Mishka, Tepa, Tesha, Kamchibek, and Omurbek) for your help with the horses, for cooking, for helping us safely cross the river, and for ensuring the protection of snow leopards in Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve!!

Rangers Temirlan Baktygul, Urmat Solokov, Anne-lise Cabanat, Michel Gierst, Temirbek Jandrbaev listening to Ulan Abulgaziev playing the ukulele, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan relaxing in camp during evening, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Rangers Temirlan Baktygul, Urmat Solokov, Anne-lise Cabanat, Michel Gierst, Temirbek Jandrbaev listening to Ulan Abulgaziev playing the ukulele, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

I hope I did not leave anyone out, please know that if I did, it’s my fault and I very much thank you as well (but do let me know and I’ll add you!). Thank you to all for making 2016 so amazing, filled with incredible experiences, memories, and friendships.

Organizations

I have been working with Panthera for over four years now and what a privilege it has been. Panthera is the leading feline conservation group in the world. Their work is incredibly far reaching and impactful. Thank you for your tireless push to save wild cats. You are making a huge difference. To the general public, please donate to them, if you are in any way interested in cat conservation. 100% of your donation will go directly into the field!

The Santa Cruz Puma Project is a juggernaut in the puma research world. The multi-faceted work they are doing in regards to the mountain lions of the Santa Cruz Mountains is incredible. Thank you for allowing me to be the project’s photographer for quite a few months, for your dedication to the research, and for engaging the public!

Santa Cruz Puma Project

 

The Andean Cat Alliance is a multinational and interdisciplinary network founded in 1999 by professionals from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru to develop coordinated actions for the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat. They aspire to the conservation and long term maintenance of Andean cat populations and its habitat, in harmony with human populations. Having had the honor of getting to work with you, and now being a member of the alliance is something I deeply cherish. Thank you for your continued work on promoting the conservation of one of the world’s least known wild cats!

AndeanCatAlliance

The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through science and outreach. Founded in 1981, the Bird Observatory has produced over 30 years of scientific information on local bird populations, working with both government agencies and partner organizations. Thank you for allowing me into your world, for your dedication to the birds of the bay area, and for fighting for what you believe in!

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory