Photo feature

All creatures great and small: Meet the finalists of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

The funniest faces of the animal kingdom.

A chubby-cheeked squirrel chomping on corn, a frog floating in a pond, a fox who dove headfirst into the snow and is now parked with its legs sticking out, a monkey making a snowball, an owl with a GoPro camera, a Komodo dragon walking out of a washroom, a melancholic meerkat, and a look of utter dismay on its face, lions who look like they are laughing uncontrollably – these are just some of the finalists in the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

4 DAYS TO GO BEFORE CLOSING!!! Enter on our site. #winasafari #wildlife #comedy #animals #nature #fox #snow #headfirst #cwpa

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Humans are capable of a range of emotions, but when those expressions are caught on the faces of animals, they result in some hilarious shots. Founded by two wildlife photographers, Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tim Sullam, Comedy Wildlife Photography works closely with the Born Free Foundation – a charity dedicated to animal conservation and protection that was founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, the stars of the classic film Born Free, and their eldest son, Will.

3 DAYS TO GO TO DEADLINE!!!! Www.comedywildlifephoto.com #cwpa #nature #wildlife #comedy #tortoise #ride #giddyup #winasafari #photocompetition

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The competition which has been split into six categories, including a category for Video Clips, features well-timed scenes from the wild, from underwater shots of marine mammals, amphibians and reptiles, to birds, bats and every other kind of winged creature.

The Wildlife Comedy Awards are in their second year, and are already being hailed as the antithesis of traditional wildlife photography contests – the photography award that makes you laugh, and promotes animal conservation at the same time.

5 DAYS TO GO BEFORE CLOSING!!! #hurry #animals #funny #cwpa #comedy #wildlife #winasafari #lizard #gecko

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The panel of judges for the competition, includes Joynson-Hicks, wildlife photographers Will Burrard-Lucas, and Adam Scorey, wildlife TV presenter Kate Humble, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, wildlife expert Will Travers, and The Telegraph’s online travel editor Oliver Smith. Fuji Photographer of the Year awardee Tom Sillam served as chairman of the judges and competition director.

Who looks more silly? #funny #wildlife #cwpa #comedy #animals #salmon #bear #miss #winasafari

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The competition, which closed on October 1, received 2,200 entries from all around the world – of which only 40 photographs were chosen to contend in the competition.

Good mooooorning!! #zebra #photocompetition #funny #animals #wildlife #cwpa #comedy #laughing #winasafari

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Winners for each category will receive a special trophy made by men and women with disabilities at the WonderWorkshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The photographer with the winning shot will also take away a safari for two and a Nikon camera.

In 2015, the winning photograph featured a hamster running straight towards Austrian photographer Julian Rad's camera.

High five my friend. #laughing #wildlife #cwpa #mouse #comedy #animals #funny #winasafari #photocompetition

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As India turns 70, London School of Economics asks some provocative questions

Is India ready to become a global superpower?

Meaningful changes have always been driven by the right, but inconvenient questions. As India completes 70 years of its sovereign journey, we could do two things – celebrate, pay our token tributes and move on, or take the time to reflect and assess if our course needs correction. The ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, the annual flagship summit of the LSE (London School of Economics) South Asia Centre, is posing some fundamental but complex questions that define our future direction as a nation. Through an honest debate – built on new research, applied knowledge and ground realities – with an eclectic mix of thought leaders and industry stalwarts, this summit hopes to create a thought-provoking discourse.

From how relevant (or irrelevant) is our constitutional framework, to how we can beat the global one-upmanship games, from how sincere are business houses in their social responsibility endeavours to why water is so crucial to our very existence as a strong nation, these are some crucial questions that the event will throw up and face head-on, even as it commemorates the 70th anniversary of India’s independence.

Is it time to re-look at constitution and citizenship in India?

The Constitution of India is fundamental to the country’s identity as a democratic power. But notwithstanding its historical authority, is it perhaps time to examine its relevance? The Constitution was drafted at a time when independent India was still a young entity. So granting overwhelming powers to the government may have helped during the early years. But in the current times, they may prove to be more discriminatory than egalitarian. Our constitution borrowed laws from other countries and continues to retain them, while the origin countries have updated them since then. So, do we need a complete overhaul of the constitution? An expert panel led by Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE, including political and economic commentator S Gurumurthy, Madhav Khosla of Columbia University, Niraja Gopal Jayal of JNU, Chintan Chandrachud the author of the book Balanced Constitutionalism and sociologist, legal researcher and Director of Council for Social Development Kalpana Kannabiran will seek answers to this.

Is CSR simply forced philanthropy?

While India pioneered the mandatory minimum CSR spend, has it succeeded in driving impact? Corporate social responsibility has many dynamics at play. Are CSR initiatives mere tokenism for compliance? Despite government guidelines and directives, are CSR activities well-thought out initiatives, which are monitored and measured for impact? The CSR stipulations have also spawned the proliferation of ambiguous NGOs. The session, ‘Does forced philanthropy work – CSR in India?” will raise these questions of intent, ethics and integrity. It will be moderated by Professor Harry Barkema and have industry veterans such as Mukund Rajan (Chairman, Tata Council for Community Initiatives), Onkar S Kanwar (Chairman and CEO, Apollo Tyres), Anu Aga (former Chairman, Thermax) and Rahul Bajaj (Chairman, Bajaj Group) on the panel.

Can India punch above its weight to be considered on par with other super-powers?

At 70, can India mobilize its strengths and galvanize into the role of a serious power player on the global stage? The question is related to the whole new perception of India as a dominant power in South Asia rather than as a Third World country, enabled by our foreign policies, defense strategies and a buoyant economy. The country’s status abroad is key in its emergence as a heavyweight but the foreign service officers’ cadre no longer draws top talent. Is India equipped right for its aspirations? The ‘India Abroad: From Third World to Regional Power’ panel will explore India’s foreign policy with Ashley Tellis, Meera Shankar (Former Foreign Secretary), Kanwal Sibal (Former Foreign Secretary), Jayant Prasad and Rakesh Sood.

Are we under-estimating how critical water is in India’s race ahead?

At no other time has water as a natural resource assumed such a big significance. Studies estimate that by 2025 the country will become ‘water–stressed’. While water has been the bone of contention between states and controlling access to water, a source for political power, has water security received the due attention in economic policies and development plans? Relevant to the central issue of water security is also the issue of ‘virtual water’. Virtual water corresponds to the water content (used) in goods and services, bulk of which is in food grains. Through food grain exports, India is a large virtual net exporter of water. In 2014-15, just through export of rice, India exported 10 trillion litres of virtual water. With India’s water security looking grim, are we making the right economic choices? Acclaimed author and academic from the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Amita Bavisar will moderate the session ‘Does India need virtual water?’

Delve into this rich confluence of ideas and more at the ‘India @ 70: LSE India Summit’, presented by Apollo Tyres in association with the British Council and organized by Teamworks Arts during March 29-31, 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. To catch ‘India @ 70’ live online, register here.

At the venue, you could also visit the Partition Museum. Dedicated to the memory of one of the most conflict-ridden chapters in our country’s history, the museum will exhibit a unique archive of rare photographs, letters, press reports and audio recordings from The Partition Museum, Amritsar.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Teamwork Arts and not by the Scroll editorial team.