A Colorado wildlife photographer is calling for a “Wildlife Of The Year” for Colorado to use in the coming years to combat the “predator” species.
“I want the state to give people a little bit of a reason to be concerned about the threats of these species,” said Scott Taylor, who has photographed wolves, coyotes and other wild animals for the past six years.
“They’re not doing as well as we would like to see them doing, but the things we’re seeing and the changes that are happening are really significant,” he said.
Taylor’s images of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and their surrounding wildlife have won him awards from the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Society and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department.
But his work is just one facet of the state’s efforts to curb wildlife poaching, which is on the rise.
Taylor has seen a dramatic rise in poaching incidents in the past few years, with more than 2,400 poachers killed last year.
He said the state has done everything it can to curb poaching but the problem is getting worse.
“We’ve made a number of mistakes and they’ve all been exacerbated by the pandemic,” he told ABC News.
He said he has been contacted by at least two other photographers who have taken photos of animals that have been shot for sale on websites such as eBay.
“People are getting in their cars and stealing the animals, and then they take the animal to their home and shoot it,” he added.
“And it’s like the Wild West.
People are going to do it in every way they can, and it’s getting worse.”
The latest poaching death came in October, when a wolf was shot dead in northern Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Wildlife said the incident was not related to poaching, but officials have said they will soon start working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the case.
In addition to the wolf, the state is trying to eradicate wolves from a handful of national forests, as well.
In an interview with ABC News, Taylor said Colorado needs to take a more holistic approach to the problem.
“When I first started photographing wolves, I would take pictures of wolves and see them, and say, ‘this is something I want to do with my family,’ ” he said, adding he had taken a number since then.
“It’s been like that for a while, and I just want to bring it to a point where I can say, in the next couple of years, we’re going to see the same thing.”