Okay, let me qualify "positive". We are constantly bombarded with bad news about the natural world and, to be sure, there is a lot of bad news but I think it's important, maybe even more so, to talk about the good news. The collective consciousness can work toward the light as easily as the other way around. I recently attended an Art Wolfe workshop and he echoes my sentiments, regularly relaying good environmental news rather than bad, as does Dewitt Jones, another wildlife photographer who espouses metaphorically "changing our lens" and looking at things differently.
With that in mind, I went to the elk rut in Smoky Mts National Park yesterday and was pleased to learn that the herd just keeps on growing, steadily but surely. Back in the day, according to Mossy Oak, habitat destruction, predator eradication and hunting took out almost 10 million Elk leaving just about 100,000 nation wide. Now, through conservation efforts, reintroductions and conservation minded hunters... which most are I believe, Their numbers have bounced back to 1,000,000. Now, I understand that is a far cry from 10,000,000 but it is ten times higher than just a few decades ago. Progress, not perfection is the goal. Human numbers have gone up tremendously in that time and we just have to figure out a way for all of the creatures to live together. Predators are also bouncing back, cougars for instance, have increased populations across the country, partly due to increased prey such as elk.
The collective consciousness mentioned earlier is a strong factor. Hunters, conservationists, politicians and everyday folks who would simply like to see these various species in the wild rather than in zoos have changed the way things are viewed and/or done on a large scale. Let's try to focus more on that positive light!
This year the herd din't cooperate with we photographers but there was this one laying by himself giving his battle wounds from the rut a rest. A full recovery is expected. The rest of these were actually shot last year.