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Wildlife Photography in the Cities? Why Not?

Burung merupakan salah satu kelompok hewan yang tersebar luas dan dapat dijumpai di semua habitat, mulai dari daerah kutub yang sangat terisolasi hingga daerah perkotaan yang ramai oleh aktivitas manusia.

Wildlife has been identified with forests, national parks, and similar places that speak of nature. Most of them such as elephants, orang-utans, and cockatoos indeed live in the forests. However, it doesn’t mean that there is no other wildlife that chooses to live in areas other than the forest. We can even discover wildlife in the urban areas.

At Ahmad Yani City Forest in Bogor, for example, we can find 30 species of wild birds. In addition, there are also squirrels, chameleons, vine snakes, and civets,” said Jihad, Bird Conservation Officer of Burung Indonesia in a wildlife photography exhibition and talk show at Botani Square in Bogor on 23 August 2015.

Pada acara yang digelar oleh Burung Indonesia bekerjasama dengan Botani Square Mall dan National Geographic Indonesia tersebut, Wakil Walikota Bogor, Usmar Hariman menjelaskan bahwa Hutan Kota Ahmad Yani merupakan ruang terbuka hijau yang didesain agar tidak hanya mempertimbangkan kaidah estetis melainkan juga ramah burung dan hidupan liar lain.

In designing the city forest, the Sanitary and Landscaping Agency of Bogor Municipality worked together with Burung Indonesia. The conservation organisation did a survey on plant and bird species in that location and gave recommendation on plant selection to enrich existing biodiversity.

In addition to creating a better environment, the existence of green open spaces that consider the ecological function also enable photography enthusiasts to hunt for wildlife photos without having to spend too much. Riza Marlon, a prominent wildlife photographer in Indonesia whose works were being displayed in the event, even frequently hunts for photography at his garden. “I can take dozens of photographs just by sitting there, waiting in my garden,” he said.

Among the wildlife that is easy to find and become subject of photography in urban areas, birds are the most dominant one. It is one of the animal groups that are widely dispersed and can be seen in all habitats, from the isolated Polar Regions to crowded urban areas.

Birds also have attractive colour and melodious voices. They are also culturally close to human's daily life. In their life cycle, urban birds are also known to utilise man-made structures and various plants that are grown by humans. The examples are: the Common Barn-owls that use old buildings and warehouses, swallows that use cables or buildings in urban areas, and nightjars that use lamp posts to search for food.

As wildlife, especially birds, that lives in urban areas is already accustomed to humans, they usually become more "daring". They are unlike forest birds that are more timid and difficult to be approached. And that makes the equipment needed to photograph urban birds far more convenient. Instead of using telephoto lens, we can utilise a simple pocket camera to capture a few species of urban birds, such as the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Spotted Dove, and Sooty-headed Bulbul. This is also more convenient for beginner wildlife photographers.