The Chosen One

Hot! In Human Impact
Published! In JPG Magazine Issue 16
Uploaded 21 Feb 2008 — 55 favorites
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© Melinda Smith
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Photo Info
UploadedFebruary 22, 2008
TakenSeptember 8, 2007
ModelCanon EOS 20D
Exposure1/160 sec at f/5.6
FlashFlash, Auto-Mode
Focal Length400 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

On an outing in beautiful, pristine Resurrection Bay in Alaska we came across all kinds of wildlife. It was wonderful seeing these creatures in their natural habitat, free of cages and holding pens.

But even these free animals are marked by man. Hot branding was ruled against in 2006 but there are reminders out there still.

All the other rest peacefully while this poor animal couldn't take his eyes off of us.

In the Big, Beautiful Alaska photo essay.

37 responses

  • Leslie Eagle

    Leslie Eagle gave props (22 Feb 2008):

  • Melinda Smith

    Melinda Smith said (22 Feb 2008):

    Thank you Leslie. I feel inspired to make another donation to the Humane Society.
    If man can do something as horrible as this, I'm pleased that man has the compassion to stop it as well.

  • Sherry

    Sherry gave props (22 Feb 2008):

    how sad. your pic tells it all, you have my vote

  • John Sloan

    John Sloan (Deleted) said (22 Feb 2008):

    What is that all about?

  • Hunaid H

    Hunaid H gave props (22 Feb 2008):

    Very well captured

  • Colleen Duncan

    Colleen Duncan (Deleted) said (22 Feb 2008):

    Sure, but what if this tag allows us to track migratory patterns, thus better understanding our impact on the larger species?
    I'm not saying that's what it's there for, but there may be more at play here than a quick 'oh, that's sad what they did the to poor furry animal' here.
    In any case, good pictures often start a discussion, so for that reason at very least, well done.

  • Colleen Duncan

    Colleen Duncan (Deleted) said (22 Feb 2008):

    Have you tried it in B/W?

  • Melinda Smith

    Melinda Smith said (22 Feb 2008):

    Thank you all for commenting. Colleen, I understand the need for tracking patterns and such but this seems extreme. The link that Leslie provided stated that the animals are subjected to painful research procedures, including teeth extraction and removal of fat and other tissue samples, often with no anesthesia.
    I'm not a scientist but there are more humane ways to track animals. The Humane Society went to court over this in 2005 and court ordered it stoped in 2006. This was taken in Sept of 07 and the brands on this sea lion are still red and raw looking.
    I love B&W but I wanted the scars to stand out.
    Thank you for taking time to open the discussion on this. I am by no means an expert on the subject. I just found the whole thing disturbing

  • Leslie Eagle

    Leslie Eagle said (22 Feb 2008):

    Bet you didn't know you were going to spark an entire debate when you posted this haha! At any rate I wanted to post in a comment for those that don't notice the link I posted before...
    I have lived over 30 years in Alaska and have many friends in biology as well as fish & game and I had never seen anything so invasive before! There are proven practices that have been used for years to study our glorious wildlife. Generally they tag animals on an ear or put a radio transmitter or observe them personally from a safe distance using spotting scopes and binoculars using distinguishing characteristics that the animal already has.
    I'm all for science, Bbt this study was just plain immature, selfish and lazy without any regard to the animals involved.

  • Melinda Smith

    Melinda Smith said (22 Feb 2008):

    I'm with you Leslie. I am for science also but not like this. I've never seen an animal marked so cruely for research.

  • Jan Hoffman

    Jan Hoffman said (22 Feb 2008):

    Melinda --
    Bravo for showing us this eye-opener. Tagging and tracking can be done in a much less invasive manner. You nailed the theme concept with this offering in my opinion.
    Best wishes, Jan

  • Pilar Coll i Gatells

    Pilar Coll i Gatells said (23 Feb 2008):

    Molt bona! my vote

  • Adrian Rodriguez

    Adrian Rodriguez said (25 Feb 2008):

    Wow..........Got my VOTE

  • Mandolin Davis

    Mandolin Davis gave props (28 Feb 2008):

    this makes me want to cry...very very powerful image.

  • Christian Rodriguez

    Christian Rodriguez said (5 Mar 2008):

    Definitley have a vote here too.
    Besides what has been said and that the shot is technically well done; you have the fact that the branded animal is the only one aware of, or cares about your presence. Due to the dumb scientific practices here, and I am a big believer and supporter of science, the animal's natural behavior is now alterered because he/she will always have this unnatural/invasive human experience. I've always been under the impression that while the scientists do their work, the animals are not very conscience to the human presence. Branding being allowed in 2006 is very, very suprising to me.

  • Cody Brundidge

    Cody Brundidge (Deleted) said (10 Mar 2008):

    hey i have a simular photo.

  • Sagi Shapira

    Sagi Shapira gave props (10 Mar 2008):

    what can i say... either way you cut it (and pardon the pun) this photo certainly, by any measure, fit the theme...well done!

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (13 Mar 2008):


  • Eleanor Dinneen

    Eleanor Dinneen said (13 Mar 2008):

    i'm sure the ''poor furry animal'' feels the same way about tracking migratory patterns !

  • Jessica Kuligowski

    Jessica Kuligowski gave props (14 Mar 2008):

    Well composed! Nice job!

  • casey wangrud

    casey wangrud said (15 Mar 2008):

    I don't know...I have no words for this. I'm speechless. I want to say something that truly expresses the disgust I feel when I see this sort of inhumanity, but all I can do is stare & shake my head.

  • melanie scott

    melanie scott gave props (18 Mar 2008):

    very powerful and emotional shot - perfect entry for the theme

  • Nancy Brooks

    Nancy Brooks said (23 Mar 2008):

    Brought tears to my eyes. Very powerful, it has such an impact.

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee gave props (26 Mar 2008):

    very sad

  • Laurie Search

    Laurie Search gave props (28 Mar 2008):

    This is ridiculous! How can any good come from doing something like that to this beautiful creature?! This shot is very powerful and disturbing. And it really is amazing that he is the only one looking at you. So sad. Excellent work.

  • Kristin Platts

    Kristin Platts said (1 Apr 2008):

    The more humane thing to do to track an animal would be to put a collar on it. I've seen that many times, this is just wrong. Great shot.

  • Melinda Smith

    Melinda Smith said (1 Apr 2008):

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments on this disturbing practice. Let's hope it continues to be outlawed.

  • Lee Shelly

    Lee Shelly gave props (30 May 2008):

    Powerful Image.

  • Jan Verbeke

    Jan Verbeke said (1 Jun 2008):

    Congrats on the publishing :)

  • Melinda Smith

    Melinda Smith said (1 Jun 2008):

    Thank you Jan and thank you to all who voted : )

  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist gave props (6 Jun 2008):

    This is so wrong. Great Capture.

  • :) L P

    :) L P gave props (29 Aug 2008):

    sooooooo sad!!

  • je suis moi

    je suis moi gave props (4 Nov 2008):

    Many humans do not appreciate our brothers. I am sorry for this mutilation.

  • Julien Maury

    Julien Maury gave props (14 Jan 2010):

    this shot really made somethong on me thank you this is great.!

  • Cindy Griff

    Cindy Griff said (28 Jan 2011):

    Well done, thankyou!

  • Tim E

    Tim E (Deleted) gave props (20 Jun 2011):

    thanks for sharing

  • Epin Hervin

    Epin Hervin gave props (4 Sep 2011):

    Teardrop. Very inspiring picture

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