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Panthera media director wins Wildlife Photojournalist of Year Award for wild tiger photos

Photographs taken in India, Thailand and Indonesia capture this enigmatic species, their struggle to survive in the wild and the efforts undertaken to save this endangered and iconic cat



IMAGE: Fourteen-month-old sibling cubs cool off in a watering hole in Bandhavgarh National Park. These tigers have since attacked people and are now living their lives in captivity in Bhopal, India.... view more

Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic

On October 17, 2012, Panthera's Media Director, Steve Winter, was awarded the prestigious Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award from the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. Amidst the artifacts of London's Natural History Museum, Winter accepted this award for a series of six photos taken in India, Thailand and Indonesia of tigers in the wild, key threats facing the species and wildlife patrols working on the ground to prevent poaching of this endangered species.

View the award-winning photos.

"I am thrilled and honored to accept these esteemed awards from Veolia Environnement," said Steve Winter. "I shot this story in three countries - Thailand, Indonesia (Sumatra) and India - with the goal of documenting the beauty of the tiger, the serious threats they face, and the heroic efforts being made to protect them. My hope is that these photographs help to raise awareness about the fragility of the world's tiger population and inspire people to act to save this incredible species."

Each year, the Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year award is given to a stellar photographer who has captured the most memorable story about animal behavior or environmental issues in just six images. Winter's photo story, entitled 'The Tiger's Tale,' illustrates the species' struggle to survive against human threats, including direct poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, and human-tiger conflict.

These captivating images show a rescued tiger cub who lost its leg to a poacher's snare in Sumatra; another young tiger slipping through a national park fence bordering local villages in India; a Sumatran tiger hunting at night; tiger habitat being cleared for oil palm plantations in Sumatra; the study of a radio-collared female tiger in Thailand; and rangers gearing up to patrol against poachers in a wildlife sanctuary in Thailand.

Along with this honor, Winter brought home the Runner-up Prize for The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species for a camera trap photo showing two tiger cub siblings resting in a pool in India's Bandhavgarh National Park, featured above. The cubs featured in this image, entitled 'Free No More,' are now living in a captive facility for 'conflict tigers' in Bhopal, India after attacking local villagers. Commemorating the late conservationist, Gerald Durrell, and his work with endangered species, this award is given to the most memorable image that captures the unique character and spirit of a species in threat of extinction.

Today, of all the big cats, the tiger is closest to extinction. In the last 100 years, tigers have plummeted from nearly 100,000 to fewer than 3,200 individuals in the wild today. Grappling with drastic habitat loss and fragmentation, the tiger now lives in less than 7% of its historic range. Furthermore, with three out of the nine subspecies of tigers having gone extinct in the last 80 years, the species is now listed as Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

Sponsored by Veolia Environnement, and co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is internationally recognized for taking a lead in the artistic representation of the natural world, including endangered species like the tiger. The international judging panel of respected wildlife experts and nature photographers reviewed over 48,000 entries from 98 countries, from aspiring amateurs and established professional photographers.

An exhibition of this year's winning images, including Winter's seven award-winning photos, will be held from October 19th, 2012 through March 3rd, 2013 at the Natural History Museum, before embarking on an international tour.


Learn about Winter's additional photos from 'The Tiger's Tale' series, for which he won his second consecutive Global Vision Award from Pictures of the Year International.

Learn about what Panthera is doing to save tigers in the wild. Visit Panthera's Tigers Forever page.

About Panthera

Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to the conservation of wild cats and their ecosystems. Utilizing the expertise of the world's premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and implements global conservation strategies for the largest, most imperiled cats - tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards. Representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind, Panthera works in partnership with local and international NGOs, scientific institutions, local communities and governments around the globe. Visit Panthera.

About Tigers Forever

Launched in 2006 after decades of continuing tiger declines, Tigers Forever is changing the face of tiger conservation. Tigers Forever makes a unique commitment to increase tiger numbers at key sites by at least 50% over a 10-year period by relentlessly attacking the most critical threats to tigers - poaching of tigers and their prey. Utilizing rigorous science to maintain constant vigilance on conservation efforts and on the tiger itself, this transformative program is the only one of its kind to guarantee success - the recovery of the wild tiger. Visit Tigers Forever.

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