Since he was five years old, Tallon Nightwalker from Fort Collins, Colorado has been getting his photograph taken with all sorts of animals. The hobby, initiated by Tallon’s father, has turned into a passion and a mission to have a picture taken with as many animals as possible for the now 16-year-old high school junior.
Nightwalker’s single father, Bob, works at a wildlife rehabilitation clinic where Tallon has had the most interaction with these wild animal species. So far, he has been photographed with 840 different species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Bob has worked as the Wildkind Manager for the Larimer Humane Society’s wildlife rehabilitation department in Colorado for years.
Tallon has walked in the footsteps of his father and currently works at the wildlife rehabilitation center as well, where he has saved thousands of species for release back into the wild. “In the those 11 or 12 years he’s been rehabbing, he’s saved thousands of animals, literally thousands of animals,” Bob Nightwalker said in a phone interview.
Because of his rehabilitation work, as a courtesy, other rehabilitation facilities have exposed Tallon to more exotic animals, which allow him to get photographed with more unique species. This spurred Tallon’s father to think of all the animals he’s worked with over the years which he never got a chance to photograph. He thought about how those animals could potentially no longer existing in the future and so he wanted to photograph at least one alive before that time came.
“We’ve started in trying to figure out what are some of the dangers that some of these species face, whether it’s habitat destruction or poisoning, and we want it to continue to evolve to have good messages,” Tallon told Today.com.
When asked if the Nightwalkers wish to travel to foreign continents to photograph more animals, Bob said he would love to, but the finances are not there to do so. Even still, the men have had so much help from other rehabilitation facilities have made this project successful. “That would be great,” Bob said. “A lot of people don’t realize I’m a single parent working at a nonprofit so I don’t make a lot of money, but it would be wonderful to do that sort of thing,”
Yet, the project does not come without stipulations nor close calls. Tallon must be photographed holding the wild animal, standing right next to it, or standing in the foreground or background from it and the animal cannot be caged. This has led to a bite from a moose defending her calf, but the more important thing that it has led to, is a close bond and trust between father and son.
Images courtesy of Bob Nightwalker