A Siberian tiger showed the love we need in 2020. Photographer Sergey Gorshkov captured a RARE moment of a tigress hugging a tree as if she’s marking her territory. Titled as “The Embrace,” the picture just made Gorshkov the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition.
“A SCENE LIKE NO OTHER”
In the picture, the tigress stands on her hind legs, wrapping her front legs around a Manchurian fir tree and rubbing her cheek against bark to leave secretions from her scent glands. The big cat is at great peace as it lovingly wraps its body around the tree.
“It’s a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest,” said Roz Kidman Cox, chair of the judging panel. “Shafts of low winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in obvious ecstasy and inhales the scent of tiger on resin, leaving her own mark as her message.”
This picture was selected among the 49,000 entries in the prestigious annual photography competition held by the Natural History Museum in London.
“It’s also a story told in glorious color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness,” Cox said.
Siberian tigers or Amur tigers have an epic comeback story after their threatening extinction in the late 1940s. By that time, there were only 20 to 30 tigers left alone in the wild because of excessive hunting across the Russian Far East, northeastern China, and the Korean Peninsula.
Russia was the first country that recognized its potential extinction and gave them legal protection in 1997. Now, around 550 tigers are roaming around in their old territories.
The person behind this epic moment, Gorshkov, is a founding member of the Russian Union of Wildlife Photographers. He captured this photo in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park. He installed a motion-sensor camera and waited for over 11 months to capture his prize-winning still!
The Serbian Tigress was chosen amongst other pretty cute competitors who were caught in a moment of calmness.
Category: Young Photographer of the year
Title: The Fox that got the Goose
Winner: Liina Heikkinen (Age 15 to 17 years old) from Finland
Category: Behavior, Invertebrates
Title: A tale of two wasps
Winner: Frank Deshandol from France
Category: Animal Portraits
Title: The Pose
Winner: Mogens Trolle from Denmark
Title: A mean mouthful
Winner: Sam Sloss from Italy/USA
Category: Rising Star Portfolio
Title: The Eleonora’s Gift
Winner: Alberto Fantoni from Italy
Category: Urban Wildlife
Title: Watching you watching them
Winner: Alex Badyaev from Russia/USA
Category: Portfolio Award
Title: The Last bite
Winner: Ripan Biswas from India
Category: Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award
Title: Backroom Business
Winner: Paul Hilton from UK/Australia
Category: Behavior, Amphibians, and Reptiles
Title: Life in the balance
Winner: Jaime Culebras from Spain