The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2018
Certificate of Merit: Biplap Hazra
Impossible Odds: A stream of heart-breaking images have emerged from photographer Biplab Hazra’s long-term documentation of wild elephants in West Bengal. Here in the Bankura district, beleaguered herds desperately navigate a landscape that would be unrecognisable to their foremothers. The railway authorities didn’t consider their ancient pathways when they laid this track, and every year a memory’s worth of elephants is wiped out by speeding trains. The little calf teetering at the edge of the platform represents a great species, one gifted with intelligence, compassion and innovation, that is proving to be no match for the ruinous hand of man. Hazra’s frame is a desolate plea to make amends, a caustic statement on the ecological cost of development, an embarrassing rumination on our definition of progress.