Orange County wildlife photographer captures animals in their element

Rachel Brown Image
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
OC wildlife photographer captures animals in their element
"I capture wildlife at its best, when nobody's watching." An Orange County photographer gives us a behind-the scenes look at our animal neighbors.

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (KABC) -- It's easy to sometimes forget we're surrounded by wildlife in Southern California. But thanks to Orange County photographer Jason Andes, we're now getting a behind-the-scenes look at our animal neighbors.

"I capture wildlife at its best, when nobody's watching. There's no human presence. It's very non-invasive," said Andes.

For the last six years, Andes has been tracking a number of different animal species in Orange County's Santa Ana Mountain range: everything from deer, to eagles and mountain lions.

"Once I got my first mountain lion on camera I kind of got hooked and couldn't look back," said Andes.

Only 15 mountain lions are estimated to live in the Santa Ana Mountain range.

"I've tracked a total of eight different mountain lions in Orange County, three of them being newly born kittens, about 6 months old now. So it's very exciting. Every time you go check a camera there's always something new and exciting to look forward to," said Andes.

Recently, a 5-year-old male named Scar or El Cobre, was illegally shot and killed. Andes says the killing of a reproductive male could have devastating consequences to maintaining balance there.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is now investigating.

Andes has 10 motion-sensor cameras placed throughout the mountains, allowing him to shoot photos and video. He checks his footage weekly, and says photographing these moments is a true passion.

"Being outside you kind of cleanse yourself from your day to day humdrum and you get out to see magnificent animals, nature, clean air," said Andes.