This brilliant shot taken by National Geographic photographer Christian Ziegler won first prize in the nature section of World Press Photo contest, 2013, Nature, 1st prize singles, Christian Ziegler.
For over 55 years the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest creates a bridge linking the professionals with the general public. As the announcement of the winners makes headlines around the world, so the inspirational role of photojournalism is highlighted to an audience of hundreds of millions.
The endangered southern cassowary has now moved from “Centre Stage in the Daintree Rainforest” onto the world stage where it will be exhibited and celebrated in 200 different venues.
The cassowary will become better known and appreciated through this sensational award-winning photo and hopefully will help to lift tourism into the Wet Tropics of Queensland. The vital role of the cassowary as a keystone species in ingesting and distributing seeds, makes its survival essential to the well-being of the world’s oldest rainforest.
About 10 years ago, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, removed the cassowary from its logo on the advice of marketing experts, who claim that the big bird is not well-know, it’s a bit scary to look at and no-one knows what it is. It was replaced with a green frog, a more lovable, better-known creature. Perhaps the award through Christian’s photography will support the protection and conservation of the Wet Tropics of Australia.
In the article we wrote, “The chicks debut coincided with the arrival of National Geographic photographer Christian Ziegler, who has been studying and photographing Australia’s endangered southern cassowary in Mission Beach, Kuranda and Daintree Rainforest, over a 6 month period. Christian’s photography is brilliant, and his article, likely to be published late-2013, will shed new light on the secret lives of cassowaries.” Below is an image of a male cassowary and his 2 chicks at Cooper Creek Wilderness.
We noted Christian’s excellent tracking skills over several weeks. He maintained his distance, keeping out of the line of vision of the big birds, merging in with the vegetation silently and painstakingly, distancing himself from their personal space. This is quite a contrast with some visiting photographers who expect the wildlife to be on call. Christian likes to photograph rare and endangered wildlife. As a tropical ecologist, he studies their habitats and their habits, becoming extremely knowledgeable about his subjects.
Christian deserves the highest accolades for his brilliant photography and for the sensitive way in which he studies and photographs his subjects, and presents the very best for public appreciation.