A picture of a fan-throated lizard has been announced as the winner of the Zoological Society of London’s fifth annual Animal Photograpy Prize.
The beguiling snap took photographer Pratik Pradhan three years to capture in India’s southern Chalkewadi plateau.
Pradhan said: “I observed this male who repeatedly took the same path while scanning his territory and checking out all of the females.
“It was not easy to maintain a sharp focus on the lizard running towards me while keeping it at eye level – it took me three years to capture this image the way I wanted.
“They have a thin flap of skin called a gular appendage, between their throat and their abdomen, which they can flap and flash at will – normally these are whitish or creamish in colour, but what’s interesting is that during the breeding season the males develop a wonderful coloration ranging from blue to black to red and orange.”
Other recognised entries included Alexander Holden’s Flash of Azure, capturing a kingfisher securing dinner, and runner up Mike Reyfman whose striking image of a lone adult King Penguin among scores of infants caught the eye of judges in the Weird and Wonderful category.
After poring through nearly 3,000 entries from across the world the panel of judges including television presenter Kate Humble, explorer and author Levison Wood and ornithologist Bill Oddie selected an overall winner from six initial categories.
Ozkan Ozmen’s Baby Baboon and Jeremy Cusack’s Catching The Sun also achieved a highly commended status, respectively capturing a monkey standing next to a parked car, and a hippopotamus emerging from a sun-drenched pool.
ZSL began its photography competition in 2012 with the aim of seeking images which challenge the viewers perception of and relationship with the natural world and its inhabitants.
The Society’s Director General Ralph Armond said: “Pratik’s image shows a true dedication to celebrating the unique beauty of the natural world. With the world’s wildlife populations having halved in the last 40 years, the need to raise awareness of and celebrate the wonders of the animal kingdom has never been more vital.
“The ZSL Animal Photography Prize encourages photographers to capture the very essence of the animal kingdom and all its beauty, and the diversity of wildlife portrayed in the entries we’ve received has been so inspiring.”