Search the internet for extraordinary animal images like a cougar leaping across two pillars of sandstone, a wolf calling for the moon, or a grizzly bear frolicking in the snow, and you’ll find dozens of nearly identical photos featuring captive animals just like Zeus. Similar to the game farms that offer captive wild animals for hunting, photography game farms offer captive wild animals for photos.
Such farms are controversial, posing questions about both the integrity of the photography and the welfare of the animals involved. But they are also convenient tools of the trade for commercial photographers, whose images—in ads, documentaries, viral animal pictures, and even wildlife photography competitions—you’ve probably seen and maybe even shared, unaware of their origin.
Everyone loves their animal pictures. We have that connection to their lives and their world but at what cost?