In the last 11 years, Tallon Nightwalker has been photographed with more than 840 animals, live and up close. But he’s still got more than 25,000 to go to reach his goal, because Tallon is aiming to be photographed with every type of animal on the planet.
Tallon’s father Bob Nightwalker, who works at a wildlife sanctuary, started taking pictures of his son with animals when Tallon was 5 years old. Most of their 840-plus animal pictures have been taken there or at other sanctuaries in the Nightwalkers’ home state of Colorado. Tallon and Bob have only left the state twice for animal photos, but after 11 years they’re reaching the end of Colorado’s offerings, so they’re likely to do more traveling in the future.
This isn’t just a gimmick, or an excuse for a kid to mess with animals. Tallon, now 16, works with his father at the wildlife sanctuary and cares deeply about endangered species. He hopes this project can raise awareness about animals people might not even know existed — and animals that might not exist for much longer. “It’s sad since a lot of these animals are disappearing; they need help,” Tallon told the Denver Post.
Bob never takes a photo unless Tallon can be next to or holding the animal, and both are completely safe. So there are certain species that they’re probably never going to rack up … but on the plus side, you probably don’t have to worry about Tallon getting unexpectedly poisoned or eaten. (He’s been bitten, but, he says, not much.) You can see the existing photos, and follow his progress, on his Facebook page. At his current rate, it should take only 329 more years to get through the rest of the zoological taxonomy. Significantly less if we keep driving animals extinct.