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Snow leopard photograph wins top prize

image of elusive big cat scoops Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award
 
Published: 31/10/2008
 
A PHOTOGRAPH capturing the elusive snow leopard on a snowy night has won this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award.
 
The image, taken with a remote-controlled camera high in the Indian Himalayas, scooped the top prize for American photographer Steve Winter.
 
And British teenager Catriona Parfitt won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize for her dramatic photo of a lion attempting to attack a giraffe in front of an audience of gemsbok antelope.
 
The winning images were chosen from a record 32,351 entries from 82 countries, and go on show at the Natural History Museum, London, from today.
 
Mr Winter, a photographer for National Geographic, endured arduous, freezing conditions to set up his series of remote-controlled cameras to capture shots of the extremely rare snow leopard.
 
Months of waiting rewarded him with a series of photographs of snow leopards – including the winning shot of the animal among falling snow.
 
He said: “When I finally saw this shot I was very happy. I was overjoyed every time we got an image. We got a handful of images and each one was a gift.”
 
He said he was honoured to win the award and added: “It’s a way to bring awareness to the situation of the snow leopard which is critically endangered.”
 
Catriona took her winning shot on a family holiday to Namibia, Africa. The 15-year-old from near Southampton said: “It was the first time I’d ever seen a lion even attempting to take a giraffe.
 
“Perhaps a twitchy, solitary giraffe was just too much of a temptation for a bored lion, because every time the giraffe got anywhere near the water, the lion loped down and chased it away.”
 
Another British teenager, Julian Das, 15, from Otterbourne, near Winchester, was highly commended by the judges for his shot of a lioness taken in Botswana.
 
 
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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org
 
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