Elephants drinking, Sabi Sands, Greater Kruger

I took this photograph in the Sabi Sands reserve of South Africa’s Greater Kruger. We were crossing a dam and I looked back to see an amazing sight of an elephant herd approaching and drinking from a watering hole. A dead tree with what I think are red-billed weaver nests added further interest to a beautiful moment.

Real and witnessed in nature!

Over the last few days, my social media feeds, particularly Facebook, seem to have been inundated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images of animals and birds. I’m not going to say wildlife, many of them depict species which don’t even exist! 😂

I find it bizarre that such posts are introduced with a title such as “Best Photo of The Day!” and include include hashtags such as #bestphotochallenge, #wildanimal, #photo, #challenge, #photographychallenge, #photographerforhire, #photoshoot, all of which are an absolute antithesis of the artificial image being displayed! A photograph is an image created by light falling on a photosensitive surface. A photographer is somebody who takes photographs! Not somebody who has little or no knowledge of a camera, photography or in the case of wildlife, their species and fieldcraft and creates this content by typing keyword prompts into an artificial intelligence image generator.

Equally bizarre is the lack of awareness of people who believe what they are seeing is real, and subsequently promote this content through comments and sharing.
I increasingly believe that this misleading representation of wildlife and their habitats contributes to the spread of misinformation, dangerous anthropomorphism and has a negative impact on conservation. There is no authenticity, no scientific value, no understanding of ecosystems and no educational value. They do not respect or contribute to the value of wildlife and their habitats.

Lioness, Tuli Block © Alan Hewitt Photography

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