Heartbreaking Winning Photos of Earth.org 2023 Photo Competition

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Earth.Org is proud to have hosted the 2023 Global Wildlife & Natural World Photography Competition, and extends heartfelt gratitude to all participants. The event saw nearly 1,000 entries from photographers, conservationists, and nature enthusiasts worldwide, all driven by a love for the environment and a commitment to showcasing our planet’s natural splendor.

Here, we highlight the winners and runners-up, each image providing a striking insight into the human impact on the environment and wildlife, as well as the admirable efforts of individuals championing positive change.

Winner: ‘Best Environmental Photo’ and ‘Wildlife in Peril’ Categories (Amy Jones, United Kingdom)

“A young macaque monkey stares out from a small, empty cage at a zoo in Mae Rim, in Northern Thailand.

Sometimes he struggles to touch the hand of the macaque in the cage next to him, desperate for a brief moment of social interaction. In the wild, many monkeys live in complex social groups and traverse huge distances every single day. Macaques, for example, live in social groups of between 15 and 40 animals, and normally spend their time in the trees, covering long distances while foraging.”

More: Earth.org, Instagram

Runner-Up: ‘Wildlife in Peril’ (Yam G-Jun, Kyrgyzstan)

“It was a bitter cold winter in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan in 2021. Yam G-Jun was on an assignment for Le Monde and stumbled on a pack of 12-15 dead wolves being displayed in the public square. Initially, he only saw the dead ones whose bodies were frozen solid due to the cold but then they brought out a wolf that was still alive, the only remaining one in the pack, according to local eyewitnesses. “It was trying to survive as much as it can, wiggling and forcing itself to get freed. I took the photo to show that struggle,” he said.”

Winner: ‘Human Impacts on the Environment’ Category (Rayhan Ahmed, Bangladesh)

“The photo depicts a woman searching for essential survival items, such as food and clothes, in a huge garbage dump in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The landfill is in stark contrast with the vivid greenery seen in the background. Landfills such as this are a huge source of air pollution and have a devastating impact on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. Trash pickers often spend entire days collecting trash, including paper, plastic and glass bottles, iron pieces and carton which they then resell. The money they earn is immediately reinvested in food and other goods for their family members.”

Runner-Up: Human Impacts on the Environment‘ Category (Muhammad Mostafigur Rahman, Bangladesh)

“This is the aerial view of the Swarupkathi Timber Market, the country’s largest wood market located on the banks of Sandhya River in Swarupkathi Upazila, Pirojpur district in southern Bangladesh. Traders collected wood from different parts of the country and brought it to this market to sell them.”

Runner-Up: ‘Human Impacts on the Environment‘ Category (Kazushige Horiguchi, Japan)

“The photo was shot in the Aomi Town, in the Japanese Yamaguchi Prefecture. It depicts an octopus trapped in a net. After filming and shooting the scene, Horiguchi said he cut the net with a knife and saved the octopus from certain death. “I want people not only in Japan but also all over the world to see this picture. Dumping garbage in the ocean is a nuisance to all living things but most people are unaware of what is really going on underwater,” he said.”

Winner: ‘Climate Action’ Category (Emilio Mancuso, Italy)

“The photo was taken during daily monitoring activities in Nemo’s Garden. Mancuso, who was carrying his camera at the time, managed to capture a dynamic moment where school of sardine use Nemo’s Garden as sheltered are to rest. The picture, he said, shows the “collateral effect” of the underwater farm: It becomes house and shelter for a huge marine biodiversity.””

Runner-Up: ‘Climate Action‘ Category (José Luis Alcaide, Spain)

“The photo was taken in one of the many underwater cleanings that Alcaide and other people organise through Proyecto Plumbum, a pioneering project to decontaminate the seabed from human trash, of which he is a coordinator. The expeditions take place in one of the best-preserved underwater landscapes in the Mediterranean, the Cabo de Palos Marine Fishing Reserve in Murcia, Spain.”

Runner-Up: ‘Climate Action‘ Category (Adra Pallón, Spain)

“The photo was shot in Galicia, Spain, one of the regions most affected by forest fires in Europe, and it depicts the harsh conditions in which fire brigadiers work. It was taken with the intent to raise awareness about the threats that forest fires represent for ecosystems and humans.”


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