Hidden Camera, Tiger Tree Hug, Award

Sergey Gorshkov’s image of an Amur tiger, which won him the 2020 wildlife photographer of the year award.

Thanks to Mark Brown, Arts correspondent at the Guardian, for this:

Image of tiger hugging tree wins 2020 wildlife photographer award

Sergey Gorshkov left a hidden camera in a Russian forest for 11 months to capture the big cat

An image of a clearly ecstatic tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree in a remote Siberian forest has won one of the world’s most prestigious photography prizes.

It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov 11 months to capture the moment using hidden cameras. His patience led to him being named 2020 wildlife photographer of the year by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum.

The image was selected from more than 49,000, with Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel, calling the photograph “a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest”.

The animal is an Amur, or Siberian, tiger, which live in the vast woodlands of eastern Russia with a small number over the border in China and possibly North Korea. Hunted to the verge of extinction, the population is still threatened by poaching and logging, which also affects their prey – mostly deer and wild boar. Recent surveys have indicated that greater protection may have resulted in a population of 500 to 600.

Kidman Cox said the photograph told this story “in glorious colour and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness”.

“It’s a scene like no other,” she said. “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.”

Amur tigers have huge territories of up to 2,000km for males and 450km for females, which makes photographing them incredibly difficult.

Gorshkov said he knew his chances were slim but he was determined to capture an image of such a totemic animal. He scoured the forest for signs on trees where messages – scent, hair, urine or scratch marks – appeared to exist. He installed his camera trap opposite this fir tree in January 2019 and struck gold in November. He titled the image The Embrace…

Read the whole article here.

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