The non-profit Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Saturday announced the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards. The awards were instituted in 2000 to recognise individuals working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India.

The first prize went to photographer Ganesh Chowdhury for capturing a Gangetic dolphin leaping out of West Bengal’s Hoogly river to hunt a fish caught in a gill net. The citation for the photograph elucidates on the plight of the Gangetic dolphin – the increasingly deteriorating condition of rivers.

“This astonishing image allows us to observe the beauty of the dolphin – its polished, silver-grey skin, scallop-edged fins, fine, pointed teeth – while illustrating the dangers to its survival, so apparent in the net hanging from its beak and the thermocole bobbing in the foreground,” the citation read.

Photographer Sandeep Das won the second prize for capturing adult purple frogs in Kerala that are rarely sighted. “The rough substrate, the pearlescence of the eggs, the bubbled texture of the toad’s skin, the glutinous grasp of the purple frog’s toes – this exceptional natural history moment is documented skilfully in this textured image,” Das’ citation read.

The third prize went to Sridhar Sivaram for capturing three men on a motorbike desperately trying to maintain their balance as they collided against a defiant leopard in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Tiger Reserve.

“This dynamic, if anxiety-provoking, photograph explicitly displays what can happen when a road crosses a forest,” the citation read. “It’s not a pretty scene, but as far as action shots with a conservation message go?”

A look at the award-winning photographs:

In Kerala’s Thissur Forest Division, an adult purple frog emerges from her burrow for just one day for reproduction. She is in a tangle of string of common Indian toad eggs as another toad clambers atop her mate. (Photo credit: Sandeep Das)
Three men on a motorbike collide with a leopard in Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. This accident took place on the controversial Mandir Marg that connects to both the main entrance of the reserve and a renowned Ganesh temple. (Photo credit: Sridhar Sivaram)

Photographs that received certificate of merit:

A katydid nymph eats the soft portions of a leaf in West Bengal's Coochbehar district. It leaves behind an impressive latticework in the process that bears a strong resemblance to lush paddy fields or a wetland. (Photo credit: Alok Kar)
Beetles move frantically in water to converge against a possible attack from a water strider. In dim turquoise tones, the beetles leave behind chaotic trails in the water, while still keeping the strider in steady focus. (Photo: Mandar Mohan Ghumare)
A peahen gathers her three chicks under her wings to protect them from the roving eyes of predators in Rajasthan’s Jhalana Leopard Reserve. The image is a homage to a mother’s instinct. (Photo: Sourabh Bharti)