With a flash of vivid blue and bright orange, the fan-throated lizard streaks across the dry landscape. It was this incredible display that photographer Pratik Pradhan spent three years trying to capture in the Chalkewadi plateau, India.
Well, now that time spent seems to have paid off, as not only has his stunning image of the little reptile won the “Weird and Wonderful” category of the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2016, but it has gone on to wow the panel who crowned it the Judge’s Choice award, too.
“I observed this male who repeatedly took the same path while scanning his territory and checking out all of the females,” said Pradhan in a statement. “It was not easy to maintain a sharp focus on the lizard running towards me while keeping it at eye level – it took me three years to capture this image the way I wanted.”
The image is just one of close to 3,000 entries for this year’s prize, which aims to inspire wonder in the natural world and encourage “photographers to capture the very essence of the animal kingdom and all its beauty,” now in its fifth year. Categories include “Catch Me if You Can” and “At Home in the Habitat”, and received a plethora of magnificent photos in both the adult and junior categories.
“With the world’s wildlife populations having halved in the last 40 years, the need to raise awareness of and celebrate the wonders of the animal kingdom has never been more vital,” said ZSL’s Director General, Ralph Armond. “It just reaffirms how important it is to inspire people of all ages to work for wildlife around the world – so that no one has to imagine a world without wildlife.”
Below is a selection of the fantastic images submitted, ranging from a huddle of penguins to a couple of thirsty monkeys. If you happen to be in London, you can pop into ZSL London Zoo and check out all the other entries.
In-flight fight - Alicia Haydon, Catch Me If You Can Junior Winner and Judges' Choice Junior Winner
Kingpin - Mike Reyfman, Weird and Wonderful Runner Up
Strategies for Drinking - Carlos Perez Naval, Urban City Life Junior Winner
Catching the Sun - Jeremy Cusack, Deep and Meaningful Highly Commended