Some wild animals are so secretive that it is almost impossible to get a good photograph of them in the wild. One such animal is a mountain lion. Mountain lions are usually extremely cautious and always intelligent, thus rarely allowing people near them.

Most dramatic close-up photographs of a mountain lion were taken of a captive animal. I believe it is unethical for a photographer or publisher to pass off a photograph of a captive animal as one taken of a truly wild animal in the wilderness.

I have decided that I will not photograph captive animals. Every wildlife photograph that appears on this site is of a wild and free animal.

I also believe it is unethical to harass a wild animal to get a good photograph. What is harassment? That is difficult to define, but I believe it means creating undue stress to the animal. My best wildlife photographs are usually of an animal that has accepted and become unconcerned about my presence, or is unaware of my presence, as in photography from a blind.

Finally, I believe it is unethical to digitally manipulate a photograph in a way that dramatically alters what was actually seen in the viewfinder. All photographs should be artistically cropped if necessary or desired, and adjusted for tone, color, and luminosity. However, if there was one lion in the viewfinder when the photograph was taken, there should not be two lions in the final image.

My one exception to this rule involves collars and ear tags placed on wild animals by biologists and other authorities. These intrusive objects detract dramatically from the aesthetics of wildlife photography, and from the actual scene witnessed live. In Yellowstone, for example, many wolves have been fitted with collars, for study and tracking. It is always a rare and thrilling event to see a wild wolf close up in the wilderness. The last thing I want to see in that magical moment is an ugly collar on the wolf, like somebody's pet dog. Therefore, I will erase collars and ear tags in my photographs of wildlife.

I urge the authorities to explore new technology, which would allow their study and tracking of these animals without spoiling the scene for others. I assume that this can be done using microchips and other miniature devices.

George Sanker