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Last Updated: Thursday January 21 2010 06:32 GMT

Winning wolf photo disqualified

An Iberian wolf

The winner of a big photo award has been disqualified because the judges said he probably used a tame wolf to 'model' for the picture.

The winning image was taken by photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez, who said he did nothing wrong.

But the Wildlife Photographer of the Year judges said the wolf's markings showed it was actually a tame animal from a zoo near Madrid in Spain.

It is against the competition rules to photograph a tame animal.

Louise Emerson from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition said the wolf in the picture was probably an "animal model" who could be hired for out photos.

One of the competition judges, photographer Mark Carwardine, said the judges compared the winning shot to pictures of Ossian, a tame wolf from the Canada Real zoo in Spain.

He said: "You can see several very distinctive markings and the experts all agreed that, yes, it's the same wolf.

"This is very sad and I think it might make us more suspicious of entries that are too good to be true."

This is the first time that there has not been a winner in the competition's 46 year history.

Mr Rodriquez denied "hiring" Ossian for the photograph and says the star of his picture was a wild wolf.