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Matinee: Kim Barker's 'Wildlife Rehabilitation Photography' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

1 October 2016

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 155th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Kim Barker's Wildlife Rehabilitation Photography.

This nearly three-minute video features the wildlife photography of Kim Barker, a Canadian writer who took a break from her screenwriting career a few years ago and found herself volunteering to photograph "for wildlife rescue organizations that save everything from the tiniest orphaned hummingbird to an injured elephant seal pup."

As she put it:

Previous to this, wildlife rehabilitation was a world I'd never given much thought to. I'm not alone. When most of us see a dead skunk on the side of the road, we're too busy holding our noses to realize that there could be orphaned babies nearby who really needed their mom.

But there are people who do realize their are wildlife orphans who need some help. They volunteer their time and money to take care of the tiny creatures often in their own homes until they can stand on their own. Then they're released back into the wild.

Barker noticed a pattern when she was photographing these charming subjects. "Baby animals need warmth to survive but most volunteer homecare wildlife rehabbers can't afford an incubator." They make do with heating pads, which are not really designed to provide warmth all day every day.

So Baker launched Baby Warm to solicit contributions and donate incubators to wildlife rehabilitators who save orphaned wild baby animals.

Like Kickstarter, the site presents the story of each wildlife rehabilitator who applies for a donation and monitors the contributions donors make to that rehabilitator. When the funding goal has been reached, it provides the rehabilitator with a Brinsea incubator that runs about $550 on Amazon.

And into those incubators will go creatures like those you'll see in this video. Squirrels, skunks, rodents of various types, all sorts of birds, ducks, porcupines, deer, foxes, bears, big cats, otters, seals. All of them tiny, their two little eyes peering back into Barker's camera lens.

Barker noticed another pattern after launching Baby Warm. When an incubator funding had been successful, the rehabber with the new incubator would donate $20 to another rehabber's incubator fund.

Complete strangers, hundreds of miles away from each other, brought together by their unfailing dedication to save the orphaned baby animals who arrive on their doorsteps. And if that doesn't warm your heart, I don't know what will.

Now and then, we all need our heart warmed a little. We hope Barker's video warms yours as much as it did ours.

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