A sea turtle entangled in a fishing net swims off the coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, on June 8, 2016.Francis Pérez, winner in the Nature - First Prize, Singles category.
A carpet of Monarch Butterflies covers the forest floor of El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary after a snow storm that hit the state of Michoacán in Mexico on March 2015.On March 8th and 9th of 2016 a strong snow storm hit the mountains of Central Mexico creating havoc in the wintering colonies of Monarch Butterflies just when they were starting their migration back to U.S.A. and Canada.Monarch butterflies are surprisingly resilient and they can survive several days in below zero temperatures as long as they remain dry. Deforestation reduces the shelter for the butterflies making them more vulnerable to the weather elements. And although illegal logging has been curbed thanks to the conservation efforts in Mexico, climate change is creating an increase of these unusual weather events which represent one of the biggest challenges for these insects during their hibernation period.
HLUHLUWE UMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE, KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA: A Black Rhino Bull is seen dead, poached for its horns less than 8 hours earlier at Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. It is suspected that the killers came from a local community approximately 5 kilometers away, entering the park illegally, shooting the rhino at a water hole with a high-powered, silenced hunting rifle. An autopsy and postmortem carried out by members of the KZN Ezemvelo ranger team later revealed that the large calibre bullet went straight through this rhino, causing massive tissue damage. It was noted that he did not die immediately but ran a short distance, fell to his knees and a coup de grace shot was administered to the head from close range. Black Rhino are one of the most endangered rhino species. HluHluwe Umfolozi is one of the last repositories for these animals, with less than 3000 left in the wild today.
Two rhino poachers, one 19, the other 28 years old, apprehended by an anti-poaching team in Mozambique close to Kruger National Park border.
POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA: Dawie Groenewalt, South Africa's alleged Rhino horn kingpin and the subject of a 6 year old court case involving multiple charges related to illegal Rhino horn theft and money laundering amongst other charges. He is seen on his game farm in Polokwane where he breeds high-end game for sale and hunting purposes. Groenewalt has also been charged and arrested in the USA on animal trophy charges. Groenwalt denies any wrong doing. He is one of the driving forces behind the court effort to legalize the rhino trade in South Africa. If horn was to be legalized, most of his charges would disapear and he would be in a prime position as a breeder to make significant money from rhino horn. He owns two large properties for breeding and hunting purposes and he hosts many international hunters on those properties. He states freely that he believes South Africa's recent decision not to apply to CITES for the legalization of trade in horn is a death knell for rhino in the wild in South Africa. He further alleges that Kruger National Park, the largest repository for Rhino in the world, vastly over-reports their rhino numbers. Kruger is Groenwalt's largest source for Rhino, he has won repeated tenders for rhino from the park. He is also connected to John Hume, the worlds largest Rhino breeder and one of three partners in Groenwalt's legal efforts to legalize Rhino horn for export to Asia. He claims to receive multiple calls from both Chinese and Vietnamese buyers on a monthly basis, all asking for horn. He speaks of taking representatives from both nations to John Hume's place to show them Hume's cache of horns from dehorning. This cache is allegedly worth in excess of 300 000 000 South African Rand, around 20-40 million dollars. He argues in favour of breeding and dehorning for export, stating that John Hume alone can supply over 1000 kilograms of horn every year.
Care For Wild Africa is a donor-run organization that specializes in caring for wounded animals. They have a special focus on rhino and have taken in many rhino orphans from the poaching wars across South Africa at this time. Their latest orphan is Lulah, her mother was killed in Kruger National Park and when the rangers found her she was estimated to be one month old. Hyenas had attacked the tiny calf and chewed off her ears and parts of her nose, as well as a big bite off of her rear right leg.
Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a massive wild enclosure at a conservation center in Wolong Nature Reserve. Her 2 year old cub, Hua Yan (Pretty Girl) was released into the wild after two years of  "panda training." Her name, whose characters represent Japan and China, celebrates the friendship between the two nations.
Panda China
China Panda conservation
The Chinese know how to breed the popular bears. Now they're releasing them into the wild, where the animals and their habitat face risks.
A sea turtle entangled in a fishing net swims off the coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, on June 8, 2016.
Francis Pérez, winner in the Nature - First Prize, Singles c
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World Press Photo 2017: The Best Nature Images

Feb 13, 2017

The human thirst for progress means animals’ natural habitats are increasingly under threat. Francis Perez’s distressing image of a sea turtle entangled in fishnets perfectly captures this tension between nature and its artificial enemy and won First Prize in the World Press Nature Singles category.

An Iconic Photograph of an Assassination Is the World Press Photo of the Year

Meanwhile, as the endangered species Red List increased by 16,118 last year alone, Brent Stirton’s documentation of rhino poaching in Africa serves as a painful reminder of man’s complicity. The series was awarded first prize in the Stories category.

"We have to recognize that the way we treat animals is a mark of our humanity," says Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin, the chair of this year's jury. "It’s as much about humanity as it is about nature. I respect hugely what Brent Stirton has tried to show."

Ami Vitale’s playful depiction of giant pandas in captivity took second place and Bence Máté’s starry portraits of nature’s majestic heavyweights took third place, both in the Stories category.

The winning photographs were selected from among 80,408 images submitted by 5,034 photographers from 125 different countries. In the end, 45 photographers from 25 countries made up the winning list. They will receive their awards at a ceremony in Amsterdam on April 22.

See the winning images in the Sports, People and News categories, as well as the World Press Photo of the Year.

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