Are Wildlife Photographers Enabling Poachers?

Posted on 6/13/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The wonderful world of electronic tracking can have some downsides. It is great to know the exact GPS location where a picture was taken. This information can also be useful in searching for images that were taken in a particular city, country or other location.

With the explosion of cell phone photography many buyers are relying on this data to aid in finding certain imagery and determine if the image was actually taken where and when the photographer says it was, or whether it might be a manipulated image.

But Gwyn Headley, Managing Director of fotoLibra points out that if you use your GPS-enabled camera to shoot wildlife — you could be helping poachers to shoot wildlife.

“All a poacher would have to do is check the EXIF data in your image to learn the precise coordinates of the camera when the photograph was taken. Then they pitch their tent at the site, and shortly afterwards the last remaining black rhino will wander past. Bang,” Headley said.

As a result fotoLibra has decided to strip the GPS data from a 13,878 wildlife photos in its library so poachers won’t be able to use the images to track down and slaughter animals.

Many online sites already strip all the EXIF data to save storage space. On the other hand many pros would like them to keep at least the copyright and contact information so someone who sees the image might be able to contact them and buy it. And then we have all those amateurs and tourists who are uploading gazillions of images and are totally unaware, or could care less.

Copyright © 2014 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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