Touching photo of baby gorilla hugging the man who saved her from being eaten wins wildlife photograph of the year

14:56 • 13.02.18



This heart-warming image of a gentle moment between a gorilla and a rescuer who saved her from being slaughtered is the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award beating nearly 50,000 images to win the much respected prize.


Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur's shot, called 'Pikin and Appolinaire' emerged as the favourite. 


Jo-Anne's image was chosen from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition.

 

It shows Pikin, a lowland gorilla, in the arms of Appolinaire Ndohoudou, who had just rescued her from being sold for bushmeat.

Appolinaire works for Ape Action Africa. He was moving Pikin from her former enclosure within a safe forest sanctuary in Cameroon to a new and larger one, along with a group of gorilla companions. She was first sedated, but during the transfer to the new enclosure she awoke.


As she was in the arms of her caretaker, she remained calm for the bumpy ride.    


Jo-Anne said: 'I'm so thankful that this image resonated with people and I 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.
Such is the case with the story of Pikin and Appolinaire, a beautiful moment between friends.”
 

Like Pikin, Appolinaire Ndohoudouwas forced from his home,having fled Chad because of a civil war. 


As he rebuilthis lifein Cameroon, his work in protecting wild animals revived his appreciation for the natural world. 


He has built loving relationships with the gorillas he helps to rear-some of these animals have known him almost all their lives


The picture will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London until it closes on 28 May.  


Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum's annual showcase of the world's best nature photography and wildlife photojournalism on one global platform.


Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images shine a spotlight on nature photography as an art form, whilst challenging us to address the big questions facing our planet.


The Natural History Museum has also released the four finalists and 24 shortlisted images.

 

One of the four finalists: 'Elegant mother and calf'. Captured by Ray Chin from Taiwan off the waters of island of Vava'u, Tonga, the humpback whales are making their journey south from their feeding ground of Antarctica to Tonga, in the South Pacific

Sloth hanging out: Taken by Luciano Candisani from Brazil. Luciano had to climb the cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth

One of the finalists: Warm Embrace. Taken by Debra Garside in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Debra waited six days in -55 C temperatures to capture this heartwarming moment

Kick back and chill: Taken by American Alan Chung in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda by American Alan Chung. It shows part of a 'Hirwa' family group of 16 mountain gorillas led by a silver back feeding their young on bamboo shoots

 Roller Rider: this photo was captured by Lakshitha Karunarathna from Sri Lanka. It was taken when Lakshitha was on safari in Maasa Mara National Reserve, Kenya. He spotted an unusual sight –a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra

Dark side of the plains, taken by Uri Goldman from Denmark after six days of waiting in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

Pool Party: Lilian's lovebirds, also known as, Agapornis lilianae, bathe in South Luangwa NP in Zambia. Taken by British wildlife photographer Luke Masey

Charl Senekal, from South Africa took the below shot of five zebras called 'The Nightcap'. The herd came out to a waterhole during the dry season in the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa.

What are you looking at? Another South African photographer, Jan Kolbe saw a small southern white faced owl nesting in a tree at a campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Hammerhead by Adriana Barques: Adriana took the photo of a hammerhead of a 'clear day' with 'good visibility' off the waters  off the Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Cleaning session by Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain: It was taken in the protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain. Jordi approached the wrasses and took a shot while they were went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish often have

Holding on by Jami Tarris, UK: A touching moment as an infant orangutan lays his small hand ( Pongo pygmaeus ) in the big hand of its mother, Borneo, Indonesia

Reach for the sky: Steven Baldwin, USA was photographing a group of adult roseate spoonbills in a rookery in Tampa Bay, Florida, when he noticed an unusual bird flying in

Land of Snow and Ice: Josh Anon, from the USA,  was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, when he saw this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice

Leopard gaze, by Martin Van Lokven from the Netherlands taken during a three-week stay in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Beauty and the beast by Eva Haußner, Germany: Eva captured this shot of a colourful blue feather leg dragonfly in Bad Alexandersbad, Bavaria, Germany

The brothers by Marco Urso from Italy:  Brown bears flee to the Kuril Lake in Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, every year due to the millions of Salmon spawning there

Warning wings by Mike Harterink from The Netherlands shows a 'flying' gurnard, which he captured using a slow shutter speed to capture the fish's movement. He took it after diving off Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean

Shaking off by Connor Stefanison from Canada. About every five years flocks of snowy owls makes fly down from the Arctic, where they breed, to the Pacific north-west of North America. Connor got this shot in Delta, British Columbia





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