A picture with an elephant calf ablaze, fleeing a mob, wins best wildlife photograph award

The awards were given by Sanctuary Nature Foundation on Sunday.

A brick kiln owner who shot the picture of an elephant calf on fire as it flees a mob with its mother in West Bengal won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, given by a conservation nonprofit on Sunday.

The photograph, “Hell is Here” by Biplab Hazra, was shot in Bankura district and shows what is “routine” in the area and other states like Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, the Mumbai-based Sanctuary Nature Foundation said in a release. The foundation gives the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards annually.

Hazra, who owns a brick making company in West Bengal’s Bishnupur, does wildlife photography as well, and wants to bring awareness in how people look at nature and conservation, the Sanctuary Nature Foundation told Scroll.in.

Another photograph, showing a lifeless shark ray inside a crate at Mangaluru port, won the award in the “young category”. The picture was shot by 20-year-old engineering student Vishruth Cavale, who travels “at least thrice a month to forests to photograph its beauty and also to draw attention to the various atrocities”, the foundation said.

The organisation said it got over 5,000 entries from across Asia. Among the jury were several wildlife and conservation photographers including Sanctuary Asia editor Bittu Sahgal and National Geographic photographer Steve Winter.

Here’s a look at the winners across three main categories (“Art in Nature”, “Conservation Photography” and “Creatures Great and Small”) and four categories for young photographers (“Art in Nature”, “Conservation Photography”, “Creatures Great and Small” and “Nature in Urbania”).

"Hell is Here" by Biplab Hazra (Photographer of the Year): An elephant and her calf flee as a mob tries to attack them in Bankura, West Bengal. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Last Port of Call" by Vishruth Cavale (Young Photographer of the Year, and Winner, Young Category, Conservation Photography): The body of a dead shark lay inside a plastic crate at the Mangaluru port of Karnataka. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"An Ephemeral Masterpiece" by Abhishek Neelam (Art in Nature): A starfish, pea crabs and sea shells carve shapes on the sand on Chivla beach in Maharashtra. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Between a Rock and a Hard Place" by Anand Bora (Conservation Photography): Villagers in Nashik, Maharashtra, try to save a leopard who fell inside a well and was discovered only after he had spent 30 hours inside. The animal was saved. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Epomis Modus Operandi" by Mahadev Suresh Bhise (Creatures Great and Small): A ground beetle larva attacks a frog. The picture shows the dilated eye of the dying frog and the larva hanging out of its throat. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Forsaken" by Milinda Wattegedara (Creatures Great and Small): A spotted dear struggles as a group of crocodiles attack it in the Yala National Park. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Smoke on Water" by Vishruth Cavale (Young Category, Art in Nature): An egret seen inside a lake in Bengaluru. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Three's A Crowd" by Drishti Hoskote (Young Category, Creatures Great and Small): A pair of peafowl observe a sleeping leopard in Sri Lanka's Yala National Park. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
"Valparai Vagrant" by Sitara A Karthikeyan (Young Category, Nature in Urbania): A monkey seeks refuge on the tyre of a tourist vehicle in Anamalai Hills. (Credit: Sanctuary Nature Foundation)
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