Brent Stirton has been announced as the winner of the Grand Title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image titled ‘Memorial to a species’. The image depicts a tragic scene, a Black rhino that has been brutally killed before having its horn removed. It was taken in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. The image is especially meaningful because it documents the cruelty, cost and tragedy of the illegal trade in rhino horn.
In order to get this photograph Brent Stirton visited more than 30 similar scenes of Black rhino poaching. He is a photojournalist with a strong focus on sustainability and the environment. He has worked for the World Wide Fund for Nature and has had his work featured in National Geographic magazine. This is the first year he has won the grand title. The winning image really highlights the need to take drastic action in order to ensure the Black rhino does not disappear completely.
The Black rhino was once the most numerous of all rhino species however they have become critically endangered. Since 1960 the species has declined by an estimated 97.6%. The species decline is due to a lot of poaching activity in order to feed the illegal international rhino horn trade. The horns are used for medicines and for decorative purposes. Demand is so high that rhino horns can be worth more than their weight in gold.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is in its 53rd year; the completion was originally launched in the 1960s. The competition looks at many factors around the photo including ethics and conservation. Over the years it has helped raise awareness of a number of endangered species. The competition has grown from its humble British roots to be the premier international prize in wildlife photography.
Winning images from the competition go into exhibition that will be on display in the Natural History Museum until next year, you can find out more about the exhibition on their website.
At Enviro Waste we support environmental and conservation causes. We donate 10p for every waste clearance we carry out to the Woodland Trust. This money is used to plant trees and to create habitats for wildlife and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You can find out more about our charitable commitments on our charity page.
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*‘Brent’s image highlights the urgent need for humanity to protect our planet and the species we share it with. The black rhino offers a sombre and challenging counterpart to the story of ‘Hope’ our blue whale. Like the critically endangered black rhinoceros, blue whales were once hunted to the brink of extinction, but humanity acted on a global scale to protect them. This shocking picture of an animal butchered for its horns is a call to action for us all.’ – Natural History Museum Director, Sir Michael Dixon