The Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2018
Honourable Mention: Abhishek Shirsat
Battle Royale: Residents of the rain-washed hamlet of Agumbe, Karnataka, watch enthralled as two male king cobras engage in combat. Locals have both tolerance and fascination for the species, thanks in part to living alongside them for generations. The consistent outreach work by members of the nearby Agumbe Rainforest Research Station supplements their innate respect with knowledge, which accounts for their lack of fear, as the largest poisonous snakes in the world proceed with their ancient dominance ritual.
The exhausted loser will depart, leaving the winner with mating rights with the female whose pheromones had lured them both to the site. Abhishek Shirsat’s action image juxtaposing king cobras and humans epitomises the attitudes of Indians whose cultures are steeped in tolerance and reverence for life.