A heart-warming hug that was captured by a photographer of a lowland gorilla hugging the man that had rescued her wins the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.
The photographer names Jo-Anne McArthur took the picture in Cameroon between Pilkin (the Gorilla) and Appolinaire Ndohoudou – a caretaker worked at one of the animal sanctuaries.
Pilkin’s life was saved from the hands of hunters who killed gorillas to sell them for bushmeat. However, she was saved at the last minute by Ape Action Africa.
It is unfortunate to say that killing gorilla for bush meat is rather common in Cameroon as well as other countries in Africa and as a result gorillas have become endangered species.
Baby gorillas are left to die after their mothers are killed or even sold on as pets in the illegal industry of wildlife trading.
Both Pilkin and Appolinaire share something in common which forms part of their strong bond is that he himself is a refugee as he fled from Chad during its civil war.
The beautiful photo was also shortlisted by the Natural History Museum being one of 24 photos from nearly 50,000 entries.
McArthur who is a Canadian photographer is grateful for having her photo recognised as both an inspiring and compassionate portrayal of hope in life.
McArthur says, “I’m so thankful that this image resonated with people andI hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals. No act of compassion towards them is ever too small. I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption.”
Other finalists include:
Candisani managed to take a picture of a three toed sloth handing from a cecropia tree in the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil.
Ray encountered a mother humpback whale and her calf peacefully floating in plankton filled waters of the Island group of Vava’u in Tonga.
A beautiful photograph of a colourful Lilac-breasted roller bird standing on a Zebra was captured in the MaasaiMara National Reserve in Kenya. The contrast of the bird’s multiple colours and the black and white image of the Zebra is a rare sight.
Debra managed to take a shot of a family of polar bears that were snuggled up together in Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, Canada.
All of these photos show very rare and thought provoking inspirational capturing’s of wildlife in their natural habitats.
The museum’s director, Sir Michael Dixon, said of the prize-winning photo, “Jo-Anne’s inspirational image is a symbol of humanity’s power to protect the world’s most vulnerable species and shape a more sustainable future for life on our planet. Photographs like Jo-Anne’s are a reminder that we can make a difference, and we all have a part to play in addressing our impact on the natural world.”
The winning photo captured by McArthur is displayed at the Natural History Museum.