Photography by Dominick Maio

INTRODUCTION
I designed and dedicate this website solely to my family, close friends and anyone who loves photography, wildlife and nature, beginning with my most avid supporter, my loving wife Tammy, children Joey, Gina, Jeff, Traci and Jon and respectively, their significant others; Barbara, Bobby, Susan, John and Shelby, my sisters, Katie, Anna and Angie, my nephew James, his wife Kim and my niece Gianna Rose, as well as David, Kim, son Michael & daughter Katie, Donnie & Nadine, Mamma Martzloff, Aunt Cindy, Uncle Don and most importantly, the true promoters of our legacy, my fabulous grandchildren Ericka, Matt, Katie, Danny, Alya and our newest additions …twin boys, Jake & Sammy.

A special thank you as well to my good friend and accomplished photographer Eric Dresser, http://ecdphoto.addr.com/index.html who guided, assisted and taught me so much about our winged, bipedal, feathered friends.

I hope that some of you will enjoy this delicate splash of wildlife and nature, as I humbly captured it through my camera, and only wish that someday, you too can feel the same excitement and new born love I experienced, as I documented God’s creations over the past three years.

THE GALLERY PHOTOS ARE POSTED FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT, SO NONE OF THE PHOTOS YOU SEE ON THIS FAMILY WEBSITE ARE FOR SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

As a footnote directed mainly to my younger family members; some of the species found on my website are truly in danger of extinction. Given the cause and the opportunity, please consider researching, understanding and supporting programs that are dedicated solely in the protection and preservation of these beautiful animals.

As an example, the Siberian (or Amur) tiger I photographed in Montana is in excellent condition and weighs about 600 lbs. These tigers are the world’s largest cats with some of them measuring more than 11.8’ in length and may be as tall as 40” at the shoulders. The home of the Siberian tiger is primarily in eastern Russia’s birch forests, although some do exist in China and North Korea.

By comparison, hundreds of years ago, there were eight sub-species of tigers in the world. Today, only five sub-species remain; the Siberian, Bengal, Sumatran, Indochinese and Caspian.

Hunting, predation, pesticides and forest destruction have reduced the remaining five sub-species of tiger populations from hundreds of thousands, to about 3,500. However, of those 3,500 tigers, less than 30 % of them are breeding females. Most of the tigers are clustered in only 8% of their available habitat. In fact, estimates for the Siberian tiger are that maybe 400 are living in the wild today. Even though poaching has been reduced—it’s still a very significant threat to Siberian tigers. Tigers are hunted as trophies and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Along with other beautiful creatures included in this small array, you will also find some photos of Timber, Arctic, Grey  and Northern Gray wolves who have been a true love of mine as long as I can remember.  Obviously my strong bias began with the one-time Syracuse resident, Dr. L. David Mech after reading through some of the research he  conducted at Isle Royale in Lake Superior, along with several appearances he made with live wolves on the Johnny Carson “Tonight Show”.  Add to that, a better understanding of their existence  as an individual, as a member of a pack, as an alpha male or alpha female and the strong organizational, social and family bonds they develop … which often are traits that cannot be paralleled by humans.

Researchers may be quick to acknowledge that actually conducting studies and observing free-ranging wolves in the wild is difficult.  My best understanding is that much of the past research on wolves along with supporting documentation and photographs were conducted in controlled environments or national parks and/or from small planes.  The best opportunities we may have in this country of observing “wolves in-the-wild” is probably at Wildlife Sanctuary’s, Game Preserves or National Parks such as Algonquin, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc.  I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been in a few of these areas in the past few years, taking photographs while joyously watching them for hours and observing them socially reacting with their packs, mates and wolf pups.

Obviously, wolves are a complex creature having strong, intelligent and dynamic social characteristics that can easily manifest into a love/hate relationship with the general public.   Some of the hate might be ingrained in our consciousness, attributed to childhood cartoons illustrated early in ones life by Walt Disney films as they portray the story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.  Others may have developed via bounty hunting, trapping and killing off wolves, because of fear or maybe in defense of lost domestic livestock, while yet others may simply be competitive and recreational hunting.  On the flip side of the coin, history will still prove that no human has ever provided evidence of any kind, that they, or anyone else, has been physically attacked or threatened by a non-rabid, healthy wolf, even in areas where wolf populations may be the largest in the world.

For the record, prior to 1830 in the State of Wisconsin alone, the population of free-ranging wolves were somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000.  However once European settlers began moving in building roads, towns and farms, by 1960 the wolf population all but disappeared.  In 1975, Wisconsin decided to add wolves to their Endangered Species List and in 2011, it was estimated that approximately 800 wolves now reside in the northern parts of Wisconsin.

The threat between man and wildlife has always been apparent and often said to be in the name of progress.  Currently, a presidential campaign is being waged in Tanzania over building a national highway through the Serengeti National Park.  The Serengeti has one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.  If built, this highway will bisect the migration routes of over 2 million wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, lions etc.  As a businessman, I’m truly not opposed to progress or building the road, but I do wonder if it has to be built through the Serengeti at the expense of wildlife, or maybe … with a little effort and freedom from individual & personal agenda’s, there may be a win-win alternative that can be reached to insure the stability and longevity of both.

Hopefully, my children, grandchildren, immediate and extended family along with my friends, if driven to do so, will have the foresight and dedication, to embrace a love for the whole of nature to help insure that the balance of our remaining untethered wilderness will persevere and prosper for generations to come.

The “control of nature” is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man. – Rachel Carson