Serene gorilla in a cloud of butterflies wins Nature Conservancy’s 2021 photo competition

ByDavid M. Conte

Oct 2, 2021


The Nature Conservancy has revealed the winners of its 2021 photo contest, and what a wonderful set of images they are!

This year’s winners were selected by a panel of judges which included acclaimed American singer-songwriter Ben Folds, who is himself an avid photographer. Out of more than 100,000 entries, the Grand Prize went to a photo of a western lowland gorilla walking through a cloud of butterflies in the Central African Republic, taken by photographer Anup Shah from the UK. Folds said of the winning image, “I love the photos that keep training you. [gorilla’s] face. Tolerance or happiness. It’s really hard to tell and the bugs attract you to it.

The People’s Choice Award went to Prathamesh Ghadekar of India for a photograph of fireflies gathering around a tree before the monsoon.

“These images are a beautiful and unforgettable reminder of the vibrancy and awesome power of nature,” said Meg Goldthwaite, Director of Marketing and Communications for The Nature Conservancy. “Year after year, we are amazed, delighted and moved by these scenes from all over the world. They remind us how connected we all are on this planet, and they energize us as we continue the important work of conserving the lands and waters upon which all life depends. “

We’ve picked our favorites from this year’s contest from our gallery below:

Grand Prize Winner

Female western lowland gorilla ‘Malui’ walking through a cloud of butterflies that she disturbed in a bay (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Bai Hokou, Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Special Reserve, Central African Republic. Photo by Anup Shah / The Nature Conservancy

First place in the Landscape category

Photo by Daniel De Granville Manco

Carcass of a Pantanal alligator (Cayman Yacare) in the dry soil of the banks of the Transpantaneira highway, municipality of Poconé, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Photo taken with a drone on October 4, 2020, at the height of the droughts that hit the Pantanal that year. Photo by Daniel De Granville Manco / The Nature Conservancy

Third place in the water category

Photo by Man Wai Wong

This aerial photo was taken during the winter of 2019 and shows a waterfall in Iceland. Photo by Man Wai Wong / The Nature Conservancy

People’s Choice Award Winner

Photo by Prathamesh Ghadeka

Just before the monsoon, fireflies congregate in parts of India and on a few trees like this by the millions. This particular image is made up of 32 images of this tree taken on a tripod. Later, the images were stacked in Adobe Photoshop. This image contains 16 minutes of viewing time of this amazing tree. Photo by Prathamesh Ghadeka / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable mention in the wildlife category

Photo by Thomas Vijayan

Orangutans are used to living on trees and feeding on wild fruits like lychees, mangosteen, and figs, and suck water from holes in trees. Unfortunately, this orangutan is sitting on recently felled tree stumps. Photo by Thomas Vijayan / The Nature Conservancy

Third place in the People and Nature category

New danger for underwater life “Covid-19 waste” // New danger for underwater life “Covid-19 waste” According to a report prepared by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), plastic waste equivalent to 33,880 plastic bottles are mixed in the Mediterranean per minute.  one of the countries affected the most plastic waste arriving on the coasts of Italy then Turkey.  Medical waste used during the pandemic process we live in is reaching seas because of man

Plastic waste floating in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by Sebnam Coskun / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable mention in the landscape category

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During the rainy season, the Gulf of Carpentaria in tropical north Queensland, Australia is home to a myriad of meandering rivers, estuaries, creeks and streams that create one of nature’s intricate and vivid landscapes. . Verdant mangroves line the mudflats accentuated by tidal waters and the rainy months filling the artesian basin. Photo by Scott Portelli / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable mention water category

Photo by Mahn Cuong Vu

Lotus ponds across Vietnam are entering the growing season and thriving. Photo by Mahn Cuong Vu / The Nature Conservancy

First place in the People and Nature category

Sibolangit, SOCP Quarantine Center, North Sumatra, Indonesia.  The entire SOCP team is working together to prepare Brenda, an estimated 3-month-old female orangutan (she has no teeth yet), for surgery.  A sedative is administered, the arm is shaved, his temperature taken, while others hold his head or hand out of compassion for the baby.  During the three-hour procedure, Dr Andreas Messikommer, a renowned orthopedic surgeon visiting from Switzerland, will place a pin and screws to secure the damaged humerus.  Brenda was confiscated from a villager in Blang Pidie on the west coast of Aceh who kept her as a pet.  General caption: The Sumatran Orangutan in Indonesia is critically endangered by the relentless and continuing depletion and fragmentation of the rainforest.  As palm oil and rubber plantations, logging, road building, mining, hunting and other developments continue to proliferate, orangutans are being driven from their natural habitat of tropical forest.  Organizations like the OIC (Orangutan Information Center) and their immediate response team HOCRU (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit), rescue orangutans in difficulty (lost, injured, captive ...) while the SOCP (Sumatran) Orangutan Conservation Program) cares for, rehabilitates and re-socializes orangutans in their specially designed medical facility, with the aim of reintroducing them into the wild and creating new self-sustaining and genetically viable populations in protected forests.  That we share 97% of our DNA with orangutans seems obvious when looking at their human behavior.  Today, with just over 14,000 specimens remaining, the Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo Abelii) as well as the 800 specimens of the recently discovered Tapanuli species (Pongo tapanuliensis) are classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The entire Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program team is working together to prepare Brenda, an estimated 3-month-old female orangutan who has been rescued, for surgery. Taken in Sibolangit, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Alain Schroeder / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable mention in the landscape category

Photo by Kim Pan Dennis Wong

The photo was taken in the Hong Hom area of ​​Hong Kong on August 23, 2021. When the full moon rose and passed just past the roofs of buildings, the photo was taken using double exposure. Photo by Kim Pan Dennis Wong / The Nature Conservancy

Take a look at our full Harvest Moon photo gallery:

Second place in the water category

Water_2_JORAM_MENNES

Swimmers, freedivers and snorkelers enjoy their respective sports / recreational activities in a body of fresh water known locally as Cenotes, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Photo by Joram Mennes / The Nature Conservancy

Second place in the People and Nature category

Overall picture of Tom

A guide in the Sahara desert enduring a sandstorm. Photo by Tom Overall / The Nature Conservancy

Third place in the wildlife category

Photo by Viktor Vrbovsky

A pike grabbed a large perch and tried to eat it. We don’t know what the end result was as the photographer ran out of air during his dive. Photo by Viktor Vrbovsky / The Nature Conservancy

Third place landscape

Landscape_3_JASSEN_TODOROV

Aerial image of salt evaporation ponds near San Francisco, USA. Photo by Jassen Todorov / The Nature Conservancy

Discover some other of our galleries:

Honorable mention man and nature

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Two men use a zipline to transport animals and goods across the river in Yunnan, China in May 2021. Photo by Minqiang Lu / The Nature Conservancy

Second place landscape

Photo by Denis Ferreira Netto

Part of the Serra do Mar mountain range in Brazil emerges from the clouds. Photo by Denis Ferreira Netto / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable mention in the wildlife category

Fauna_4_HM_KRISTHIAN_CASTRO

Galapagos Sea Lion Calf (Zalophus wollebaeki), waiting for her mother in the sand on the beach, San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Photo by Kristhian Castro / The Nature Conservancy

Honorable Mention Water

Photo by Jorge Andres Miraglia

As temperatures rise and glacial ice melts, air is released and trapped inside the bubbles. These air bubbles were captured by a frozen layer on top. Photo by Jorge Andres Miraglia / The Nature Conservancy

Second place in the wildlife category

Fauna_2_MATEUSZ_PIESIAK

Last year, due to high water level, this giant field of sunflowers in Poland could not be mown. In winter, it attracted thousands of different bird species. Photo by Mateusz Piesiak / The Nature Conservancy