“I hope this photograph also inspires hope. There is still time to clean up the mess we have caused,” said Nima Sarikhani after winning the 59th People’s Choice Award for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
The British amateur photographer spent three days searching for polar bears aboard an expedition ship around the Norwegian islands. The adventure was initially difficult because of thick fog. But as the ship crossed an icy stretch of sea, the group of shippers spotted two polar bears - a young male and an older one.
What followed was an 8-hour shadowing between the icebergs until the youngest of the duo decided to take a nap. Using its claws, the bear managed to dig a bed for itself at the top of a small iceberg before falling asleep. Thanks to the light of the midnight sun, Nima Sarikhani took the opportunity to immortalize this moment which will allow him to win “the most prestigious wildlife photographer competition”, he believes.
According to the Natural History Museum in London: “The poignant photo of the polar bear is one of almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries for the 59 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, which shines a light on the wonders of the natural world and our precarious relationship with him.” The photograph was crowned thanks to a record number of 75,000 voters.
For his part, the British photographer said he was “very honored to have won this year's People's Choice Award for Wildlife Photography of the Year, the most prestigious wildlife photography competition. This photograph aroused strong emotions in many of those who saw it.”