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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Winning wildlife pictures go on show
By environment correspondent Alex Kirby

A man from the United Kingdom, Manoj Shah, is the overall winner of the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, organised by BBC Wildlife magazine and the Natural History Museum, London.

Manoj's winning picture, taken in Indonesia, shows a young orang-utan in its mother's arms.

It was taken in Gunung Leuser national park, Sumatra, where wild orang-utan populations have fallen by 50% in the past decade.

"I watched them for a long time," said Mr Shah. "The female eventually turned her face into the light that filtered through the forest canopy, just as the baby looked up from its suckling."

The winner in the British wildlife category is another UK entrant, Andy Newman, chosen for his photograph of a swamp spider carrying her egg-sac.

The spider, the largest in Britain and one of the rarest, is able to catch small fish.

Vincent Munier, of France, won the Eric Hosking award for a striking picture of common buzzards fighting.

He said: "It was a very cold February day in the Vosges mountains of eastern France when I set up my hide next to the frozen marsh.

"Food was in short supply, and so it wasn't long before common buzzards were attracted to the dead field mouse that I had staked out.

"This pair didn't stop fighting for a full 20 minutes, and it was only after I'd taken a few photographs that I realised the extreme cold had flattened my camera batteries."

Other winning entrants included Mike Mockler, also of the UK, for a dawn shot of a leopard he saw in a tree in northern Tanzania.

And Raoul Slater of Australia was specially commended for his portrait of a red-necked wallaby joey. He caught it in the act of watching him.

Mr Slater said: "When a wallaby joey first pokes its bald head out of the pouch, it is very nervous and trembles at the slightest noise.

"Within a few weeks, though, its confidence has grown, and it becomes tremendously curious."

All 120 winning and commended entries are on show at the museum from 28 October until 25 February 2001.

Other images on show include a pygmy seahorse camouflaging itself among coral, a sperm whale investigating the photographer, and a bee-eater bird catching a dragonfly for his mate.

See also:

21 Oct 99 | Science/Nature
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