Sanctuary Asia magazine released its award-winning entries in their annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest and they are extra-ordinary. The images highlight all aspects of the natural world, from moments of beauty and calm, to the stark realities of human impact and hunter and prey.
The winning photo depicts the human-elephant conflict in India.
A frightening photo of an angry mob throwing fireballs at a baby elephant and her mother starkly highlights the growing conflict between humans and animals across the world.
In the photo, the mother and her calf are desperately trying to run away from a crowd of people chasing after them, jeering and shouting. The young calf screams in terror and confusion as her hind legs catch on fire from the burning tar balls being thrown at them. It’s a scene of chaos, but one becoming all too familiar throughout Asia.
Taken by photographer Biplab Hazra in West Bengal, India and entitled, ‘Hell is Here’, the startling photo was awarded Sanctuary Asia magazine’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017.
“For these smart, gentle, social animals who have roamed the sub-continent for centuries, hell is now and here,” Hazra said. It is not known what became of the two elephants in the picture.
“In the Bankura district of West Bengal, this sort of humiliation of pachyderms is routine, as it is in the other elephant-range states of Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and more,” Sanctuary magazine wrote. “India is the world’s stronghold for the Asian elephant, home to over 70 per cent of the global population of the species. But this achievement rings hollow as vital elephant habitats and routes continue to be ravaged, and human-elephant conflict escalates to a fatal degree.”
Below are the other winning photographers of the competition.
“All our inspiration springs from nature,” says Bittu Sahgal, Founder and Editor of Sanctuary Asia. “These awards are Sanctuary’s way of acknowledging this reality and reminding us all to celebrate, revere and protect this source of life.”
A leopard fell into a well, where it swam for an incredible 30 hours before being discovered, barely alive. The cat would have died had it not been for local villagers who worked tirelessly with forest officials to save the leopard. This image captures the rescuers hard at work.
A starfish intermingles with pea crabs and sea shells to create a delicate and beautiful ‘drawing’ in the sand at Chivla beach in Malwan, Maharashtra.
In this chilling image, thought to be only the second if its kind, a critically-endangered Amboli bush frog is being attacked by the larvae of a ground beetle. The insect has attached itself to the frog’s throat and is devouring the helpless amphibian.
A spotted deer struggles helplessly as a bask of crocodiles enter into a feeding frenzy. The deer’s plight was captured on the banks of the Buthawa tank in Yala National Park.
The movement of herons on the lake look like mystic plumes of smoke.
A plastic crate in the Mangalore Port cradles the lifeless body of a shark ray. Although not a targeted species by most Indian fisheries, shark rays are still a valuable by catch. These graceful shallow-water dwellers are classified as a vulnerable species, yet little is known about their biology or population. Cavale, who is a young photographer, has taken a desolate image that conveys the silent annihilation of dozens of little-known species across the world.
A slumbering leopard sleeps atop a large rock in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park as two peafowls warily watch from below.
A bonnet macaque perches in the tire rim of a tourist vehicle. Various states throughout India are lobbying to cull or sterilize monkey populations as conflict between monkey and human increases due to the monkeys’ shrinking habitat and being lured to cities by garbage dumps and tourists offering food.
Photos are published on Reshareworthy.com with permission from the Sanctuary Nature Foundation.
The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards is India’s longest-running and most prestigious initiative of its kind. They received over 5,000 entries from across Asia.
The images from this competition come at a time when scientists around the world say that the planet is facing an unprecedented attack. Over 15,000 scientists came out with a dire warning about the catastrophic impact human actions are having on the environment. Their declaration states, “we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.”
Learn more about the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, their magazine and their conservation efforts at their website.