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'Rescued Joeys' by Alex Cearns AOM

Nothing inspires me more than spending time with animals, and I particularly love Australian wildlife. I think we have some of the most unique and adorable animals in the world, including kangaroos and their sweet little joeys, baby possums with their enormous eyes, cheeky observant koalas, colourful cockatoos, charming baby wombats and quirky Tasmanian devils. Their distinctive features, incredible diversity and remarkable adaptability to the country’s often harsh climate leaves me in awe. As a small child living in remote rural South Australia, I filled every spare moment in the company of animals, becoming smitten with Australian wildlife as I explored nearby creeks and bushland. I also helped my mother rehabilitate those in need − orphaned joeys, possums, native birds and reptiles. We did whatever we could to help them survive and then released as many as possible back into their natural habitat. These two passions – being with animals and doing what I can to help them – have since become central to my life and career. As a professional animal photographer, I frequently have extraordinary opportunities to see and interact with animals, both in the studio and out in the landscape. But I also see how under threat many species are, not just in terms of individual accidents, but also on a larger scale, with destruction of habitats and man-made changes in biodiversity. Many of our native species are endangered or extremely vulnerable and I am passionate about supporting conservation efforts at a local and national level. I am particularly drawn to orphaned joeys that are taken into care by the dedicated team of Wildlife Care WA and nursed back to health. There are three key elements to the protection of wildlife: conservation, education and rescue. Different organisations aim to do one, two or all of these. All are crucial factors in ensuring a vibrant wild native ecosystem. The more people know and understand about the role animals play in the environment, and about what a diverse ecosystem brings to our lives, the better the chances of ensuring their survival. I know that many people feel as passionately as I do about animals and conservation. If ever there was a time to step up for those who don’t have a voice, it is now. My images aim to convey the beauty and character of each animal. If they can contribute in even just a small a way to the preservation of our wild animals, I will feel very humbled and proud. This is, after all, an incredible country with amazing wildlife.



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