‘A welcome embrace,’ a rare glimpse of a Siberian tigress hugging a tree has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, #WPY56.
The moving image by Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov shows an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree at the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russian Far East.
Amur, or Siberian, tigers are found only in this region and it took more than 11 months for the photographer to capture this moment with hidden cameras. The race – regarded as the same subspecies as the Bengal tiger – counts only a small number surviving over the border in China and possibly a few in North Korea.
“The announcement was made by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum, London, on 13 October,” the organizers said.
The chair of the judging panel, renowned writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox, praises the photo as “a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest. Shafts of low winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in obvious ecstasy and inhales the scent of tiger on resin, leaving her own mark as her message. It’s also a story told in glorious color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness.”
“Hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century,” explained jury member Dr. Tim Littlewood, Executive Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, “the Amur population is still threatened by poaching and logging today. The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts.
Through the unique emotive power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to protect it.”
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020
Liina Heikkinen was awarded the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 for her dramatic image, ‘The fox that got the goose.’
With feathers flying, the young fox is