The Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Friday announced the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2022. The awards were instituted in 2000 by the non-profit to recognise individuals working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India.

This year, the first prize was awarded to photographer Anirban Dutta for clicking a swarm of termites around a street lamp in Cooch Behar as a Black Drongo bird swoops to pick morsels.

“This dream-like image masks the chaos of its setting – a busy petrol pump,” the award citation read. “The photographer merged three images using in-camera multiple exposures, but the image was created in his mind before it was captured.”

Photographer Abhijit Somvanshi won the second prize for capturing a face-off between a pair of Indian jackals and a Hawk Eagle at the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

“The eagle accepted the interlopers’ challenge, attacking and locking one of the jackals in a fierce fight while the other quietly began eating,” the citation read. “Eventually, the tussle ended mutually, with them accepting each others’ presence as they shared the meal.”

The third prize was awarded to photographer Anand Boraa for clicking a leopard who was trying to get away from humans attempting to catch it. The photograph was shot in Nashik.

“A local political leader jumped into the fray in a badly calculated attempt to catch the cat,” the citation read. “Though injured, he escaped with his life. As did the leopard that was safely trapped and released by forest officials.”

A look at the award-winning photographs:

A swarm of termites dips around a street lamp as an agile Black Drongo swoops in to pick morsels from the insect cloud. (Photo: Anirban Dutta)
A leopard tries to get away from a man attempting to catch it in Nashik. (Photo: Anand Boraa)

Editors choice

Two small Indian civets feed on the decaying carcass of a sambar in Jamoon village on the outskirts of the Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand. (Photo: Mayuresh Kishor Hendre)

Photographs that received certificate of merit:

Bagworm moth larvae build intricate dwellings to pupate, using twigs, dry leaves and other plant and animal debris. (Photo: Amith Kiran Menezes)
A safari vehicle in Sri Lanka's Yala National Park came too close to an angry Asian elephant. (Photo: Lalith Ekanayake)
A snail walks on a dead log covered with fungus releasing spores. (Photo: Prathamesh Ghadekar)
A mass of silvery-grey water beetles on a water surface. (Photo: Vijay Parmar)
A pair of beetles clings on to a wooden twig. (Photo: Angad Achappa)