London’s Natural History Museum in South Kensington has just launched their fifty-third Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The exhibit features 100 original photographic images that record the beauty and drama of the natural world, from tiny insects to massive mammals.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition Winners and Exhibit
The 2017 competition attracted almost 50,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 92 countries.The winning images were selected by a panel of judges for their creativity, originality and technical excellence. Images get bonus points if they tell a broader story about the current challenges facing wildlife and the environment.
This year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year winning image, by photojournalist Brent Stirton is difficult to look at. It captures the aftermath of an act of brutality: a dead black rhino, killed for its commercially valuable horn.
Museum mammal expert Richard Sabin explains why images like this matter, despite being hard to look at: “The outlook is bleak for black rhinos. They have been critically endangered since 1996, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that the population has declined by an estimated 97.6% since 1960.
The mammals are slaughtered in huge numbers for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine and for decoration, and can be worth more than their weight in gold in illegal international markets.
Global demand for the horns fuels both crude poaching networks in southern African countries (the heartland of the black rhino) and larger organized crime networks.”
Photojournalist Brent Stirton is documenting the cruelty and tragedy of the trade in rhino horn.
2017 is the first year Brent has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand title. He has won Wildlife Photographer of the Year photojournalism awards in the past, along with many other international awards for his long-term investigative projects. See more of his amazing work at his website here.
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Winners, Finalists and Highlights
Now, here are a few more breathtaking highlights from the competition.
The images will be on exhibit from 20 October 2017 until 28 May 2018.
all images and information courtesy of the Natural History Museum in London