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?”