An image of a clearly joyful tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree in a remote Siberian forest has won one of the world’s most prestigious photography prizes.
Photographer Sergey Gorshkov had left a hidden camera in Russia’s forest for almost 11 months to capture a big cat. The big cat captured in the picture is a Siberian or an Amur tigress.
The image won Sergey Gorshkov the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum.
The picture capture displayed the tigress embracing the tree, she was trying to leave her scent against the bark of the tree to mark her territory. Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel, selected this picture among other 49,000 images. He said, “The lighting, the colors, the texture – it’s like an oil painting.” The chair of judges, Roz Kidman Cox further added, “the photograph told this story in glorious color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness”.
The animal captured in the image is an Amur, or Siberian Tiger, the kind of species that live in extensive woodlands of eastern Russia with a small number over the border in China and possibly North Korea. The population of this particular species is getting extinct as it is threatened by poaching and logging, this also affects their prey wild boar and deers. However, the surveys have ensured greater protection which might have resulted in a population of 500 to 600.
Amur tigers are said to have territories up to 2,000km for males and 450km for females, which makes photographing them incredibly difficult.