The Nature Society (Singapore) is looking at developing a Singapore Code of Ethics for nature appreciation and photography. They would like to hear what issues you feel should be addressed in this Code: email your thoughts to Vinayagan Dharmarajah, Legal Adviser to NSS firstname.lastname@example.org
This was outlined in their latest newsletter Nature News Mar-Apr 09.
Timothy Pwee also describes some disturbing photographer behaviour in his article "Questionable Nature Etiquette".
For example, how he was at MacRitchie Reservoir and "came across an artillery firing line of heavy cameras with owners casually gossiping. Suddenly, silence. All attention became riveted on a spot along the riverbank's foliage - the rare Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus) had finally shown up! A dozen mounted flashes lit up in synchrony, blinding the bird in a staccato of free fire. The barrage of light continued on and on." After discussing the issue, he notes that "The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph or the sighting."
While Marcus Ng describes "An Eyewitness Account of Unethical Behaviour". A longer version of the account was earlier carried on the Bird Ecology Study Group blog.
A Code of Ethics will be good and I hope it can be extended to our shores and marine life as well. Stress (and death) by photographers and visitors is not only confined to birds and terrestrial habitats. Unlike birds, marine life can't run away or cry out. So we are often oblivious to the distress and death we may be causing when we visit the shores.
Also in this issue, Vice-President Dr Shawn Lum in his Thoughts from the NSS President "Protecting Biodiversity while Resuscitating the Economy" asks for views on how the Nature Society can reach beyond the narrow confines of nature enthusiasts and environmental champions to make others realise the many benefits that Nature provides. How can we bring others to feel that protecting natural habitats and biodiversity both at home and abroad is not only a good thing, but is the right thing to do (and worth doing now)?
For more details, download the Nature News Mar-Apr 09 issue (PDF file)