Photo’s shock disqualification
A WILDLIFE Photographer of the Year has been stripped of his prize because the anteater he snapped was allegedly stuffed.
Marcio Cabral won the Animals in their Environment category for his photo last year.
The informant claimed the anteater was the same taxidermy animal as the one displayed at the visitor centre of Brazil's Emas National Park, where the winning shot was taken.
Museum bosses asked five experts to investigate the claims together with a taxidermist.
The probe found that the two anteaters had identical tufts of fur and patterns on the neck and head.
Brazilian Cabral denied his picture, which shows an animal approaching a termite mound in the middle of the night, was a fake.
He told BBC News that there were other photographers and tourists in the park at the time and therefore "it would be very unlikely anyone wouldn't see a stuffed animal being transported and placed carefully in this position".
But he could not produce additional images before and after the winning photo, called Night Raider, was taken.
According to Buzzfeed, the museum, said: "Mr Cabral did provide an explanation as to why he had no other images of the anteater. He also provided a witness who claims he saw the live anteater."
"Mr Cabral strongly denies that the anteater in the image is a taxidermy specimen."
Mr Cabral claimed the animal left after the flash fired, so it was impossible to take another image.
However, he was found to have breached competition rules on misrepresentation.
Judge Roz Kidman Cox said: "I find it disheartening and surprising that a photographer would go to such lengths to deceive the competition and its worldwide following
The competition places great store on honesty and integrity. Such a breach of the rules is disrespectful to the wildlife photography community.Night Raider disqualified
"This disqualification should remind entrants any transgression will be found out."
Cabral has won other awards for wildlife photography.
He has been banned from entering the competition again.
A new winner will not be awarded as judging is "blind" (the photographer's names are not revealed), explained the Museum. "As the photographers are now known, it would be impossible for judges to make an objective choice," the museum said in a statement.
In 2009, the overall winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award was disqualified after judges ruled that a wolf pictured jumping over a gate was probably a trained animal from a zoo.