'Memorial of a species', the winning image from Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 © Brent Stirton / Wildlife Photographer of the Year


A black rhino picture taken by photojournalist Brent Stirton has been awarded overall winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 (WPY) at a ceremony in London’s Natural History Museum (NHM).

‘Memorial to a Species’ was taken in South Africa’s Hlhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and shows a black rhino that has been poached for its horn.

The image beat almost 50,000 entries from 92 countries to win the 53rd WPY competition.

“To make such a tragic scene almost majestic in its sculptural power deserves the highest award,” says judge Roz Kidman Cox.

“There is a rawness, but there is also great poignancy and therefore dignity in the fallen giant. It’s also symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.”

Black rhinos are a Critically Endangered species due to poaching and the illegal international trade in rhino horn.

There are five extant species of rhino – white and black (found in Africa), Indian, Javan, and Sumatran (found in southern Asia).

“Brent’s image highlights the urgent need for humanity to protect our planet and the species we share it with,” says Sir Michael Dixon, director of NHM.


'The good life' Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 (also winner of the 15-17 years old category) © Daniël Nelson (The Netherlands) / Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

Daniël Nelson’s image of a young western lowland gorilla in the Republic of Congo won Young WPY 2017, also announced at the ceremony.

“This intimate scene of a gorilla lounge on the forest floor is peaceful,” says judge Daniel Beltra, “a state of being we would wish for all these magnificent creatures.”


Launched in 1965, WPY was a competition held by Animals magazine – now BBC Wildlife Magazine.


Megan ShersbyNaturalist, writer and content creator