Bringing laurels to the Northeast corner of the country, Assam-based photographer Biju Boro has been chosen for the prestigious Sanctuary’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. Boro’s photograph – ‘The tyranny of man’ – showcasing a leopard stunned by the pinch of a tranquilising dart, exhausted and disoriented by the clamour of a mob chasing the animal, was selected as the most stunning photograph of the year. The photograph entered the hall of fame of Sanctuary Asia for the intense, emotional churn that it inspires.
Boro’s photograph (It can be seen here) shows the cat in the eye of a storm, chased by angry locals and pursued by worried forest officials. “This particular guldaar, was spared a death at the hands of the crowd, but across the country its kin are burned, bludgeoned and brutalised for crossing the invisible border into human territory. This one image evocatively captures the many faces of human-wildlife conflict in India – the bewildered animal, the outraged local community, the curious bystanders, and the struggling forest department, represented by the orange tail of the dart. This photograph enters our hall of fame for the intense, emotional churn that it inspires,” said a statement released by Sanctuary Asia.
The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards is India’s longest-running and most prestigious initiative of its kind. This year, the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards beat last year’s record, and drew over 5,000 entries from across the subcontinent.
The second prize went to Pinal Patel and Shaurya Shashwat Shukla for their photograph titled ‘Dogs of War’. Masters of tactical warfare, a pack of 22 dholes implement a foolproof plan to subdue a massive sambar stag in velvet. The combined weight of the pack of whistling hunters is probably less than that of the stag, but their attack strategy is flawless.
The third prize was jointly shared by Raman Kulkarni and Ripan Biswas. Kulkarni’s photograph was titled ‘Featherweight, Heavyweight’ which showed a butterfly mudpuddling spot in Parpoli village, Sindhudurg. Biswas’s photograph – titled ‘A Peculiar Piscator’ – showed a seasonal swamp in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.
The winning photographs can be seen here.