(International-18) Wildlife photography..top pictures of the year

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The gorilla is about nine years old and is called Caco by the trackers who took the young Dutchman to see the ape in Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo.
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Their numbers are being denuded by illegal hunting for bushmeat, disease (notably the Ebola virus), and habitat loss (to mines and oil palm plantations).

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SPECIAL NOTE:  Started in 1964 by what has since become BBC Wildlife Magazine, it has grown in scale and this year accepted 48,000 entries from 92 countries. The current competition is organised by London’s Natural History Museum.
An exhibition of the best images opens at the South Kensington institution. The top prize came from a man who almost gave up photographing wildlife…it seems the world simply ignores what is happening to the wildlife in the wild around the world…people continue to kill precious animals for money, and in the case of rhino, many Asians strangely believe their horns can cure all kinds of ailments or diseases.  The horns sold in Asia are worth more than gold! But we must all try to fight against poachers, sellers and buyers…a famous international ad says, if you stop buying these products, people would stop killing wild animals in the world! Take this message seriously…especially those of us tourists who have money to support sellers around the world…if you stop buying it, they will stop killing it! A simple lesson to learn. Enjoy the photos…Wild Life Photographer of the Year contest! Steve December 6, 2017 

 

 

 

Photo of butchered rhino wins top award
By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent
• 18 October 2017

Poachers killed the animal at night, with a silencer, and then dehorned it.
Stirton took the photo as part of an investigation into the illegal trade in rhino products.

The photographer visited more than 30 such crime scenes in the course of his probe – experiences he said he found depressing.

“My first child is going to be born in February; I’m 48. And I think I left it such a long time because I kind of lost faith in a lot of the work we see as photojournalists. You lose faith in humanity to some extent.”

Stirton, who collected his award at a gala dinner at London’s Natural History Museum, believes this particular piece of butchery was probably carried out by local people, but working to order.

The usual practice is to sell the animal’s two horns to a middleman. This individual then smuggles the merchandise out of South Africa, most probably through Mozambique, to China or Vietnam.

In those Asian countries rhino horn has a street value higher than gold or cocaine.
The trade is driven by the misguided belief that horn – the same material as toenails – can cure everything from cancer to kidney stones.

Brent Stirton told BBC News: “For me to win this, for the jury to acknowledge this kind of picture – it’s illustrative that we are living in a different time now, that this is a real issue. The sixth age of extinction is a reality and rhinos are just one of many species that we are losing at a hugely accelerated rate and I am grateful that the jury would choose this image because it gives this issue another platform.”

Lewis Blackwell, the chair of judges for WPY, said the rhino image had had a searing impact on his panel: “People may be disgusted, they may be horrified – but

it draws you in and you want to know more, you want to know the story behind it. And you can’t escape it; it confronts you with what’s going on in the world.”

The rather more peaceful image of a young western lowland gorilla feeding on breadfruit is the subject of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year winning entry.
T

his was taken by Daniël Nelson from the Netherlands, who entered the picture in the 15-17-years-old category.

The gorilla is about nine years old and is called Caco by the trackers who took the young Dutchman to see the ape in Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo.
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered. Their numbers are being denuded by illegal hunting for bushmeat, disease (notably the Ebola virus), and habitat loss (to mines and oil palm plantations).

Daniël, who is now 18, said he first became aware of WPY when he was six. “It inspired me immediately, and since then my passions in life have revolved around wildlife, photography and conservation.”

WPY
Started in 1964 by what has since become BBC Wildlife Magazine, it has grown in scale and this year accepted 48,000 entries from 92 countries. The current competition is organised by London’s Natural History Museum.
An exhibition of the best images opens at the South Kensington institution on Friday. Next year’s competition starts taking entries from Monday.
Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

 

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