The Gaza Post | The News of Palestine-Palestine
A tender hug between a lowland gorilla and the man who saved her life has been crowned the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice award.
Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur took the photo in Cameroon, as the rescued gorilla – named Pikin – was being moved between animal sanctuaries.
Pikin had been captured by poachers to be sold for bushmeat but luckily, charity group Ape Action Africa stepped in at the last minute.
Primate poaching, which is rife in Cameroon, sees hunters slaughter wild animals in order to sell their meat both in their country of origin and abroad.
Baby apes are often left orphaned after their mothers are killed and either die in the wild or are sold on as pets.
Pikin was being moved to a new enclosure within a safe forest sanctuary but woke up during her transfer when her sedation wore off.
Luckily, she woke up in the arms of her caretaker, Appolinaire Ndohoudou, a man she shared a particular bond with.
Like Pikin, Appolinaire was forced from his home, having fled Chad because of a civil war.
As he rebuilt his life in Cameroon, his work in protecting wild animals revived his appreciation for the natural world.
Jo-Anne captured the moment the two travelled together – which became the winning photo chosen by the public in the competition run by the Natural History Museum.
It was chosen from a shortlist of 24, selected by staff at the museum from almost 50,000 entries.
The picture will now be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Museum until it closes on May 28.