Iconic SA Wildlife shine as Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2016 winners

2017-01-19 16:31 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - While our beautiful has everything a tourist's heart can desire - iconic food, incredible weather and the most amazing people - there is one specific thing South Africa is probably most famous for in the travel sphere - our wildlife. 

And rightfully so. The Kruger National Park is home to the largest concentration of wild animal species in the Southern Hemisphere, while it provided an undisturbed and completely natural environment of SA's Big 5 species to roam in. 

Even wider than the Kruger, South Africa has a plethora of game parks and reserves dedicated to preserving our country - and the continent's - most prized and fragile living heritage. 

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that two photographs shot in two of South Africa's esteemed wildlife sanctuaries have been announced category winners in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2016 competition

ALSO SEE PICS: SA sardine run shot wins 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer title

With over 17 000 images entered from over 50 countries around the world and a staggeringly high-quality bar being set this year, the two photographs depict two of SA's most iconic wild species - the elephant and the leopard. 

American Photographer David Rosenzweig shot this image in the Timbavati Game Reserve in Mpumalanga. His image won the  Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year category. 


David Rosenzweig (USA)
Timbavati Game Reserve, Mpumalanga, South Africa
The eternal bond between a mother and child is one that transcends the animal kingdom. One early morning in the Timbavati Game Reserve, we came across this female leopard. She was clearly searching for something and continued calling until she reached an open road. Just as she arrived, her cub came running out of the bushes. The ensuing interaction between the mother and cub proved the love that the two share for each other.  
Canon EOS 70D with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens at 180mm, ISO 100, 1/1000sec at f/2.8, handheld


ALSO SEE: 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year captures 'delicate and intimate' Africa

Dutch photographer Alice van Kempen took this photograph in the Kruger National Park. Her image won in the Wildlife Insight category. 


Alice van Kempen (Netherlands)
Lower Sabie, Kruger National Park, South Africa
In Africa, poachers slaughter an elephant every 15 minutes to supply the demand for ivory – that’s 96 beautiful creatures a day. In 2016, as of the middle of September, there had been 36 elephants killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park alone – the highest number since 1982. With this in mind, I wanted to create a photograph to reflect the situation the elephants are in. I chose to capture the sad look of one of the elephants; a dark image that lets you focus on the tusks. 
Nikon D800 with Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 lens at 500mm


ALSO SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Elephant numbers in Africa decrease by a third in just 7 years


You can see a full selection of the category winners in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2016 competition here

These category winners now go forward to be in with a chance of being selected as the overall winner, who will be heading off to the Arctic on assignment to document the Fjällräven Polar dog-sled expedition in April 2017. 

The winner will be announced live at The Photography Show at NEC Birmingham on Saturday 18 March at a special awards ceremony. 

Check out this video of all the winning shots: 





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