UK’s Royal Society of Biology has recently published the results of this year’s photography contest and they have left me speechless. The theme of the 2020 contest was “Our Changing World,” and the images show how nature changes and adapts, often due to human impact. While there are some positive examples of human interference with the natural world, the winning image of elephants rummaging for food is absolutely heartbreaking.
RSB’s Photographer of the Year is Tilaxan Tharmapalan. he took the winning photo in Sri Lanka, and it shows a herd of elephants searching for food on a garbage dump near a wildlife sanctuary. “Although authorities have recently banned dumping rubbish near these protected sites,” RSB writes, “elephants had been known to fall ill and die from rummaging and eating the waste.”
In addition to the Photographer of the Year category, RSB has one more category. It’s Young Photographer of the Year, for photographers below the age of 18. This year’s winner is 14-year-old Ashwin Geerthan and his image shows how humans and nature can interact in a positive way. He photographed cormorants perching on the poles fishermen left in the river. The birds use the poles to spot fish in the water below, and Ashwin wanted to show that “humans and nature do not have to be seen as foes but can be allies.”
The photo contest saw thousands of entries from all over the globe. Other than the overall winners in both categories, RSB has also recognized runners up, highly commended, and shortlisted images. You can check them out below, and they will be showcased in the online RSB Annual Awards Ceremony, as part of Biology Week 2020. Make sure to visit the Royal Society of Biology’s website for more information.