Mumbai photographer’s picture of leopard on the prowl in Aarey wins World Press Photo award
Mumbai-based wildlife photographer Nayan Khanolkar’s picture of a leopard on the prowl for prey in a dimly lit Aarey Colony lane has won the prestigious World Press Photo (WPP) award 2017.
Over 80,000 photographers from across the globe sent their entries for the coveted award. Khanolkar, whose picture was the only Indian entry that made the list, won the second place in the ‘Nature’ category.
“I am happy that the West is acknowledging how humans coexist with leopards in Mumbai,” said Khanolkar, who has been documenting the wild cat’s activity in the area with his team.
The photograph, aptly titled ‘big cat in my backyard’ was taken on September 24, 2016.
It depicts a leopard walking past a bunch of tribal houses along a narrow lane in Aarey Colony. It was taken using a trap camera at night, when the leopards usually come out to hunt.
The 42-year-old is hoping that the image will help create awareness among people about how they can learn to live with them.
“I wish the same acceptance is shown by urban people, who build their houses close to the forest for good views and clean air, but lodge complaints even if a leopard is spotted in the fringe areas, asking for it to be trapped,” he said.
“Warli tribes of Mumbai are staying in complete harmony of leopard without any problem. We can learn a lot from them,” he added.
Incidentally, the winning photograph was taken at the same location where Khanolkar had taken another picture that won him the Wildlife Photographer Award 2016.