Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2017
Winner: Sitara A. Karthikeyan
Young Category, Nature in Urbania
Valparai Vagrant: Are our closest cousins getting too close for comfort? At a pitstop on the drive up to Valparai in the Anamalai Hills, Sitara A. Karthikeyan observed a bonnet macaque perched on the tyre of a tourist vehicle. As various states in India lobby to cull or sterilise monkey populations, and grapple inefficiently with chronic monkey-human conflict, the simians continue to adapt as best as they can to live alongside their human neighbours. Unfortunately, root problems – shrinking wild habitats, an abysmal lack of waste management systems and the annoying penchant that tourists have for feeding monkeys – remain ignored. The soft tones of this image, the monkey’s pronounced bonnet and its disconcertingly expressive eyes call for a moment of introspection and the realisation that this is yet another species that’s trying to survive the age of the Anthropocene.