In 1965, BBC Wildlife Magazine (then called Animals), launched The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its 50th year, the contest, co-hosted by BBC Worldwide and London’s Natural History Museum, is showcasing some of nature’s most beautiful– and its most beastly–images.
This year, the organizers are giving the public a chance to weigh in and cast their vote for the best of 50 images pre-selected by jurors from among 41,000 entries.
One of the images in contention is Justin Black’s Apex Predators. The shot depicts a wild adult male jaguar capturing an adult jacaré caiman. The photo was taken in August of last year on the Three Brothers River, a tributary of the Cuiabá River in the Pantanal wetlands, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Black spotted the jaguar while traveling on the river. He followed the cat as it stalked downstream and had his camera ready when the animal “exploded from the water onto the caiman’s back.” As Black explains, “in a single fluid movement, the jaguar lifted the caiman’s upper body and forelegs from the ground, turned around (this photo was made during the turn), and trotted toward the water the way he had came, handling the large reptile as if it were as trivial a burden as a pet’s chew toy.”
Black chose this photograph for the competition because he says it captures the “peak action of the event and the power, grace, and hunting prowess of a truly remarkable predator.” He also says that the inherent drama of the photo acts as a conservation tool, educating the public “about the need for protection and sustainable management of this very special freshwater ecosystem.”
As you cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award, open now through September 5, you can appreciate the diversity and bounty of the natural world. Of course, you can also appreciate the fact that to obtain tonight’s dinner, you need only drive over to the grocery store.