Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caught on camera: Stunning wildlife images captured of 'ultra-rare' tigress and a jackal about to pounce on a goat


Inquisitive: A tigress looks down the lens as her offspring looks on at the Temengor Forest Reserve, Malaysia.

The bright eyes of an ultra-rare and inquisitive tigress stare right into the camera while one of her offspring looks on sheepishly behind her.

Elsewhere in the world - thousands of miles away - a warthog gazes out of a huge hole seemingly unaware that a huge African Wild Dog is poised ready to strike above his head.

This stunning collection shows just some of the entries for the first ever BBC Wildlife Magazine annual camera trap photo competition.

Camera traps are unmanned cameras left in strategic positions to capture animals by chance. Some are left permanently recording everything while other more sophisticated models are triggered by motion sensors - capturing only what moves in front of them.

What's this? A snow leopard in the upper Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India, takes a look around a 'trap camera' left there to capture nature in its rawest form

Because nobody is needed to operate them on location, they are much more discreet and offer less disturbed glimpses of animal life. The devices are rapidly becoming an important tool for wildlife organisations who use them to generate data like population numbers and capture new behaviours.

But getting a great camera-trap photo is not easy. Operators must choose the perfect place to locate them, using field skills to predict where and when the species is likely to pass.

The competition began in April and saw judges flooded with over 700 entries from camera trap photographers all over the world.

Finalists were sorted according to three categories made up of 'Animal Portraits', 'Animal Behaviour' and 'New Discoveries' for images revealing something not previously seen.

Mark Ryan Darmarai from Malaysia, scooped top prize as Overall Winner of the competition, winning $3,000 for WWF-Malaysia's Tiger Conservation Programme after finishing first in the Animal Portrait class.

His captivating picture of the tigress and her adolescent cub investigating Mark's trap were part of a survey by the World Wildlife Fund Malaysia Tiger Conservation Programme.

He said: 'This tigress took a closer look at the camera-trap while one of her offspring waited in the background, lingering for several minutes before wandering off into the depths of Temengor Forest Reserve in Malaysia.

'Our camera-traps are used to gain information about the population ecology of this cryptic predator, which is rare in such tropical forests.'

Ready to pounce: A black-backed jackal harasses a goat in the Ghanzi farmlands of the Kalahari, western Botswana

Wounded: A puma with an injured front leg patrols its territory along a man-made trail in the north east Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Spotted: In the Greater Kruger Park, South Africa, a Spotted Hyena was snapped

Remote: A grey wolf spotted in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve in Oman

Briton Vivien Kent finished runner up in the Animal Portraits category with a spectacular picture of a caracal strolling through it's territory in Botswana - surrounded by bright yellow butterflies.

Vivien said: 'A confetti cloud of butterflies greeted this caracal as it padded through the Ghanzi farmlands in western Botswana's Kalahari region.

'This cat - which is mostly nocturnal, especially in farmed areas - was, surprisingly, abroad late in the morning. The bright daylight and colourful insects make this image special.

'We conducted three camera-trap surveys over a period of 10 months as part of our study of carnivores using farmlands in the area, and photographed 15 species, including the caracal and a rare black-footed cat.'

Some of the images from the New Discoveries category lifted the lid on the unknown, like Mexican Horacio Barcenas' images showing ocelots in central Mexico for the first time ever.

Amazing animal behaviour caught by the traps included the work of Joseph Kolowski, from the USA, who spotted a curious male ocelot, seen in the northern Peruvian Amazon region, chasing a nine-banded armadillo.

Francesco Rovero, from Italy, won the New Discoveries category for images that confirmed a new population of Abbott's Duiker in Tanzania.

One of Africa's rarest forest antelopes, the species are threatened by illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat, with only a suspected 1,500 individuals left on the planet. But Francesco's work has brought fresh hope for their survival.

The judges of the competition were made up of BBC presenter Mark Carwardine, Richard Edwards from online resource ARKive, zoologist Dan Freeman, wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James and BBC Wildlife Magazine editor Sophie Stafford

For more images from the BBC Wildlife Magazine Camera-trap Photo of Year 2010 Awards, in association with the World Land Trust, visit www.bbcwildlifemagazine.com

source: dailymail

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