13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Mauna Loa at Dawn
The only folks that will pay thousands of dollars to hike up the forgotten side of a volcano at dawn to see sandalwood trees scorched by wild fire and draught are the ultimate eco-tourists, hunters. This shot was taken at dawn on a hunting expedition on Mauna Loa that is part of the effort by the State of Hawaii to mitigate non-native wild sheep that destroy native pastures. Hunting of invasive and destructive non-native species in Hawaii, Texas and Florida has proven to be, by its nature, crucial to restoring ecosystems, low impact (much more so than even photo safaris), and more profitable than other forms of tourism. No one does more for land and wildlife conservation than hunters. The meat is often donated to local food banks as well.
© Javier Martinez.
All rights reserved.
||May 23, 2015, 8:59 p.m.