The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2018
Certificate of Merit: Senthil Kumaran
Out Cold: Everything about this picture screams chaos, and the panic on the faces of the forest guards hints at the unseen story. Photographer Senthil Kumaran was alerted to an emergency operation underway in a village on the outskirts of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu. He arrived to a scene of pandemonium – a wounded tiger cowering in fear, with a mob of five hundred village men armed with sticks and stones closing in on it. Tragedy was averted by the quick response of the Forest Department team, whose members risked their lives to somehow control the crowd long enough to tranquillise the cat. Almost as impressive as their gumption, is Kumaran’s ability to document the frenzied mood and urgency of the moment. It is a picture that accurately represents the high stress and stakes of managing human-wildlife conflict in a country of over 1.2 billion people.