Black Rhino Image Wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

Press release • Black Rhino Image Wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

The winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition have been revealed at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London, which runs the annual competition.

Photojournalist Brent Stirton has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 title for his compelling image Memorial to a species, which frames a recently shot and de-horned black rhino in South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. Once the most numerous rhino species, black rhinos are now critically endangered due to poaching and the illegal international trade in rhino horn, one of the world’s most corrupt illegal wildlife networks. For the photographer, the crime scene was one of more than thirty he visited in the course of covering this tragic story.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Memorial to a species © Brent Stirton | Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, Grand title winner

Competition judge Roz Kidman Cox says, ‘To make such a tragic scene almost majestic in its sculptural power deserves the highest award. There is rawness, but there is also great poignancy and therefore dignity in the fallen giant. It’s also symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.’

Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon says, ‘Brent’s image highlights the urgent need for humanity to protect our planet and the species we share it with.’

‘The black rhino offers a sombre and challenging counterpart to the story of ‘Hope’ our blue whale. Like the critically endangered black rhinoceros, blue whales were once hunted to the brink of extinction, but humanity acted on a global scale to protect them. This shocking picture of an animal butchered for its horns is a call to action for us all.’

Daniël Nelson took the award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 with his charismatic portrait of a young western lowland gorilla from the Republic of Congo, lounging on the forest floor whilst feeding on fleshy African breadfruit. Daniël’s image captures the inextricable similarity between wild apes and humans, and the importance of the forest on which they depend.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The good life © Daniël Nelson | Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, Grand title winner (Also winner of the 15-17 years old category)

‘This intimate scene of a gorilla lounging on the forest floor is peaceful, a state of being we would wish for all these magnificent creatures.’ says Daniel Beltra, competition judge and previous grand title winner.

The two images were selected from 16 category winners, depicting the incredible diversity of life on our planet, from displays of rarely seen animal behaviour to hidden underwater worlds. Images from professional and amateur photographers are selected by a panel of industry-recognised professionals for their originality, artistry and technical complexity.

Beating almost 50,000 entries from 92 countries, Brent’s image will be on show with 99 other images selected by an international panel of judges at the fifty-third Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Category Winners

Stuck in | Ashleigh Scully, USA | Winner 2017, 11-14 years old

The night raider | Marcio Cabral, Brazil | Winner 2017, Animals in Their Environment

Contemplation | Peter Delaney, Ireland/South Africa | Winner 2017, Animal Portraits

Crab surprise | Justin Gilligan, Australia | Winner 2017, Behaviour: Invertebrates

The incubator bird | Gerry Pearce, UK/Australia | Winner 2017, Behaviour: Birds

The ancient ritual| Brian Skerry, USA| Winner 2017, Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

Giant gathering | Tony Wu, USA | Winner 2017, Behaviour: Mammals

The ice monster | Laurent Ballesta, France | Winner 2017, Earth’s Environments

Polar pas de deux | Eilo Elvinger, Luxembourg | Winner 2017, Black and white

Tapestry of life | Dorin Bofan, Romania | Winner 2017, Plants and fungi

The jellyfish jockey | Anthony Berberian, France | Winner 2017, Underwater

Palm-oil survivors | Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski, UK/USA | Winner 2017, Wildlife Photojournalist: Single image

The grip of the gulls | Ekaterina Bee, Italy | Winner 2017, 10 years and under

The exhibition opens at the Natural History Museum on 20 October 2017 before touring across the UK and internationally to locations such as Canada, Spain, the USA, Australia and Germany.

The next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday 23 October. Find out more at

Exhibition information
Dates and times: Friday 20 October 2017 – spring 2018 10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)
To book tickets:
Prices from: Adult £14.00*, child and concession £8* Free for Members, Patrons and children under four Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Nearest tube: South Kensington

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