A picture of a tigress hugging a tree has won the top prize at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 awards. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. The Museum said that Sergey Gorshkov’s intimate photo won its judges over. The Russian photographer captured a Siberian tigress hugging a tree in the Russia Far East. Captured using a hidden camera trap, the pic shows the female tiger standing on its hind legs to embrace an ancient Manchurian fir, “rubbing her cheek against bark to leave secretions from her scent glands”.
“The lighting, the colours, the texture – it’s like an oil painting,” says WPY chair of judges Roz Kidman-Cox. “It’s almost as if the tiger is part of the forest. Her tail blends with the roots of the tree. The two are one,” she told BBC News.
Russia’s tigers were hunted to near-extinction in the last century, although greater protection may have resulted in an increase in their numbers today. It took Mr Gorshkov 11 months to capture this rare pic using camera traps.
In the 15-17 years old category, Liina Heikkinen from Finland took the top spot with her image of a fox eating a barnacle goose. The 13-year-old was able to capture a fox cub dragging the goose into a crevice while keeping its hungry siblings at bay.
The WPY Animal Portraits winner this year was a picture of a proboscis monkey by Mogens Trolle from Denmark. taken at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary in Borneo, the most distinctive feature of this young male is his nose.
Etna’s riverof fire by Luciano Gaudenzio won in the category Earth’s Environments.
For Wildlife Photojournalism, a photo of a polar bear at a Russian circus by Kirsten Luce took the top spot for 2020. The photographers has spent months documenting and photographing animal abuse.
Several pictures from India also made it to the “Highly Commended” list of 2020. Among these is a stunning shot of a large male gharial carrying its offsprings. The picture was clicked at the National Chambal Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh by Dhritiman Mukherjee. Thismale was left in sole charge of his month-old offspring, observes Dhritiman, who spent many days quietly watching them from the riverbank.
One shot from a long struggle between a five-foot snake and an eagle in Tamil Nadu was captured by Sambath Subbaiah. The picture was “Highly Commended” by judges.
You can check out other winners of the competition here.
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