Road Trippin' : Keeping it wild

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MEDFORD, Ore. -- "Dad was bigger than life and had a million stories," Dave Siddon said about his father, who started up Wildlife Images in the eighties and made it what it is today.

J. David Siddon had a vision to change the world. He was a documentary maker and Dave, Jr. says his biggest accomplishment was a film on the Brown pelicans off the coast of California.

"Their population plummeted when DDT hit them. So he did a documentary and went out to the islands and filmed and collected samples. The documentary came out and it was one of the things that caused the public to ban DDT use in the environment," Dave said about his dad's work.

In the early seventies, Siddon moved from Los Angeles to Oregon and bought the property by the Rogue River. He brought with him wild birds like a Golden eagle and Red-tail hawk, which needed permits. Local authorities met Siddon, met the animals, heard his stories and something clicked. Any time after that, if a wildlife official came across an injured animal, they took it to Siddon. That's how Wildlife Images was born.

"Within a few years, it became a beast. In 1981, he reluctantly started a non-profit organization so he could take donations and help support the animals."

Dave says some of the best work they do is never exposed to the public. Workers at Wildlife Images want to make sure they have very little contact with people, so their release back into the wild is as successful as possible. That work is incredibly costly.

Some of the animals aren't released. They stay at Wildlife Images and become ambassadors for the cause.

Dave says taking over Wildlife Images in 1996 was an easy decision, "I couldn't let my dad's dream die with him. When he called, I left my position at the Oregon Zoo and came down here to take this place over because I just couldn't fathom the idea of this place dying a long with him."

What worries him now, is the idea this place he and his dad built won't be around for future generations or the animals that need it.

Find information on visiting and donating to Wildlife Images here.

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