Nature photographers are often ignored, treated as mere camera-happy tourists out to get ‘pretty pictures’ to impress their friends. In fact, nature photography performs a variety of essential functions, from documenting biodiversity and species behaviour to publicising conservation threats and changes in ecosystems. Wildlife photography is also a key medium through which to communicate to the wider public the beauty of nature, and the need to fight, if necessary, to protect it. This is the rationale behind Sanctuary’s annual wildlife photography competition – to bring recognition to a much-neglected field. The pictures on these pages are some of the entries that received a‘Special Mention’ at the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2002.We intend to share more such images with readers in future issues.
Photo: Hira Punjabi.
Shot in the act of broadcasting its high-pitched call in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, this beautiful creature inhabits the fringes between forests and grasslands. It prefers to roost in thick ground cover. The protection of large forests such as Corbett for the sake of the tiger has given lesser-known birds, reptiles and amphibians an edge on life.
Photo: Varad Giri.
Every colour and hue plays a vital role in the business of life and death. Insects such as this damselfly are the earth’s most successful organisms and help propagate vegetation. They are also a food source for larger insects, birds and even mammals. Chemical pesticides and wetland destruction combine to make such sights rarer by the day.
Photo: Varad Giri.
Bioluminescence remains one of nature’s perennial wonders. Exactly how do certain creatures, such as this glow worm, emit light? What purpose does this serve – to attract mates, communicate with other members of the species or discourage predators? The search for such answers is among mankind’s most fascinating quests.
Tiger with Pangolin
Photo: S.K. Tiwari.
The photographer found this Bandhavgarh tiger playing with a pangolin. After trying half-heartedly to find a way through its tough armour-plating, the cat eventually abandoned the scaly ant-eater.
Photo: Niranjan Sant.
The potter wasp is so called on account of its building talents. Captured here in mid-air carrying a ball of moist clay, the female wasp builds nests of extraordinary strength, inside which it will lay its eggs. Wasps are very aggressive with intruders, but they are surprisingly gentle mothers.
The Magic of Life
Photo: K. Jayaram.
The praying mantis is the ‘tiger’ of the insect world. Named on account of its characteristic ‘praying’ posture, this adult is depositing its egg case, or ootheca, on a tree trunk. Each case contains 60 to 100 eggs.
Spot the Cubs?
Photo: Asha Jayakumar.
This image reveals two juvenile tigers in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. At the foot of the cliff is their mother, keeping an eye out for any danger. Soon they will have to fend for themselves if they are to survive.
Web of Life
Photo: S.K. Tiwari.
The parasitic red mites on this shield bug live off their host, which in turn feeds on plant matter. Such complex interrelationships between organisms has been a part and parcel of nature from the dawn of life on earth. Human interference in ecosystems cannot be fully predicted, but we know that tampering with nature will eventually harm us the most.
Wild Dog and Sambar
Photo: Geoffrey Whittle.
The Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh is a haven for a variety of wildlife including tigers and dholes. Social bonds are extremely strong among wild dogs and all pack members are allowed a share of the kill. This kill was guarded and when the photographer moved further away, as many as 20 dholes joined the feast.
Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXIII. No. 1, February 2003.