A Singapore-based Indian nature photographer has won the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the year award today after facing competition from over 11,000 photo submissions.
The photographer, Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan, captured a photo of a male orangutan peering from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo. This picture of the orangutan was picked by a panel of judges for a grand prize of USD7,500 (SGD10,141).
Sharing the image on its Instagram account and conveying the important message, National Geographic said, “Our judges were impressed by how the poignant image spoke to the impact deforestation is having on the habitat of this critically endangered species.”
This photograph has also won first place in the wildlife category.
Bojan explains in his photo caption why the orangutan is seen crossing the river, “Rampant palm oil cultivation threatens this critically endangered ape, forcing the normally arboreal species to resort to unusual behavior - such as wading through crocodile-infested rivers - in order to survive.”
Sharing his joy on winning the award, Bojan said through a Facebook post, “Deeply humbled and excited to share that I won the Grand Prize Title Winner-National Geographic Nature Photographer of the year 2017!”
Jayaprakash is an Indian photographer who moved to Singapore two years ago with his wife. He says that his biggest inspiration was the Singapore Zoo, crediting it as one of the best zoos in the world
He said, “Two years ago, I visited the Singapore Zoo for the first time and I was just blown away by the primates there. That's what triggered me to travel to Indochina, Laos and Vietnam, searching for these primates and photographing them in the wild.”
He also hoped that his photograph would bring more attention to the plight of orangutans due to their loss of habitat in Borneo.
The winning photograph will be published in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine.
The contest was open to entries under four categories - Wildlife, Landscapes, Aerials and Underwater - from September 5 to November 17.