MUMBAI: A Mumbai based wildlife photographer, Nayan Khanolkar, has won the second prize in the coveted World Press Photo Awards 2017, by featuring a prowling leopard on the fringes of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Close to 80,000 photographers across the globe send their photo entries annually to compete in the World Press Photo Awards. Khanolkar has won it in the Nature category.
Talking to TOI on February 13, an elated Khanolkar (42) said, “I am very happy to win this award. I have been doing wildlife photography for 20 years now, and like to tell the story of how wildlife is co-existing with city life. Ironically, while the Adivasi Padas (tribal hamlets) are harmoniously living with the leopards on the forest boundaries, people in high-rises at Powai, Mulund etc immediately set leopard traps to catch them if they are spotted in those areas.”
Khanolkar added that the award winning picture was taken at Aarey Colony by using a trap camera, where leopards usually come out in the night to hunt for pigs etc.
Wildlife activist Pawan Sharma of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare commented, “It is great news that an Indian has won the top honor at this international photo contest. It shows, there is such rich biodiversity within the big metropolis like Mumbai, and that we must conserve and save our forests.”