Winners of Nature – Stories | World Press Photo 2020
A photojournalistic photograph’s intent is to inform and educate, and eventually, fuel the commencement of necessary reparations. Since 1955, the World Press Photo Awards has been an instrumental force in this arena, by bringing harrowing stories of terror, as well as those of hope and resilience. These stories scream vociferously of the world’s apathy against its citizens, that we need to do better. The foundation has announced the winners of the contest on its online channels on the 16th of April. Here is a look at the photographs from the 63rd edition of the awards.
First prize: Alain Schroeder, Belgium, for National Geographic
Saving Orangutans: Indonesia’s orangutans are under severe threat from the ongoing depletion of the rainforest. Sumatran orangutans, which once ranged over the entire island of Sumatra, are now restricted to the north and critically endangered. They are almost exclusively arboreal: females virtually never travel on the ground and adult males do so rarely. As logging, mining, and palm oil cultivation increase, orangutans find themselves squeezed into smaller pockets of forest, forced out of their natural habitat and in more frequent conflict with humans. Organizations such as the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) care for lost, injured and captive orangutans, aiming to reintroduce them into the wild. Human caregivers take on the maternal role that female orangutans play, aiming to reintroduce young to their natural habitat at around the age of seven or eight, when they would naturally leave their mothers in the wild.
Second Prize: Brent Stirton, South Africa, Getty Images, for National Geographic
Pangolins in Crisis: Pangolins are scaly-skinned mammals, and while sometimes mistaken for reptiles, they are more closely related to dogs and bears than anteaters or armadillos. They range through Asia and parts of Africa, and vary from the size of a domestic cat to over a meter long. They are solitary animals, meeting only to mate and produce a litter of one to three offspring, which are raised for around two years. Pangolin scales are highly prized in some parts of Asia for traditional medicine, and the meat is considered a delicacy. A 2017 report by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, states that pangolins are currently the most illegally traded animals in the world, with at least one million estimated to have been poached in the last ten years. All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws, and two are officially listed as critically endangered.
Third prize: Peter Mather, Canada
Wolverine, Arctic Snow Machine: Wolverines are elusive, solitary animals that inhabit remote tundra and snow forests in the northern latitudes of Europe, Asia and North America. They can travel up to 25 kilometers a day in search of food. Tenacious predators, they prey on smaller animals such as rabbits and rodents, but may try for bulkier quarry such as caribou if the prey appears injured. They also feed opportunistically on larger corpses and have been known to dig into burrows and eat hibernating animals. Large snowshoe-like paws and hydrophobic fur coats equip them well for life in the snow: the Iñupiat people of northern Alaska particularly value the fur for lining parka rims, but the practice is declining following discouragement from conservationists. Although the fur trade is decreasing, current challenges to wolverines include the possible diminishing of spring snow cover due to climate change, exacerbated by their vast territory requirements and low reproductive rate.Tags: Contemporary, Contest, Daily Life, Environment, Environmental Issues, issues, Nature, News, orangutans, Pangolins, photojournalism, Photojournalists, roadrunner, singles, Wildlife, winners, wolverine, World Press Photo, World Press Photo Awards