Bleak photo of a herd of elephants eating garbage on a giant dump tells a story of our times
The elephants pictured here come to the Ampara garbage dump in search of food. Unfortunately, it made them sick and many died.
Several of the winning entries in the Royal Society of Biology's UK photo competition highlighted the harmful effects humans have on wildlife and the environment.
The winning photo of the year is a strong reminder of how humans invade the kingdom of the elephants.
The picture, taken by Tilaxan Tharmapalan in Sri Lanka, shows a herd of elephants rummaging for food at a garbage dump near a nature reserve.
The main threat to elephants in Sri Lanka is the loss of forests to human settlement and agriculture.
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A photo by a Sri Lankan photographer of elephants feeding in a huge garbage dump won the grand prize in the photo competition of the British Royal Society of Biology.
The gloomy picture was taken by RSB photographer of the year, Tilaxan Tharmapalan.
Elephants were known to get sick and die from rummaging around and eating plastic and other litter. Authorities recently banned the dumping of rubbish near these protected areas.
Several other photos recognized by the competition judges examined the devastating effects humanity has on wildlife and the environment worldwide.
This year's competition theme was "Our Changing World". The jury looked for images that highlight the dynamism of the wildlife that is sometimes catalyzed by human influences.
The garbage-eating elephants
The elephants pictured here come to landfill in Ampara in search of food. Unfortunately, it made them sick and many died. However, Sri Lankan authorities recently banned the open dumping of garbage near nature reserves.
A record number of elephants died in Sri Lanka in 2019, according to the BBC.
The majority of the 361 deaths were human-caused, although it is illegal to kill elephants in the country and carries the death penalty as well.
There are an estimated 7,500 wild elephants in Sri Lanka, according to Mongabay News, and the population has declined by nearly 65% since the turn of the century.
The main threat is the loss of forests as they are increasingly being cleared to make way for human settlements and the expansion of agricultural land.
According to New Scientist, Sri Lanka makes up only 2% of the total habitat of the Asian elephants, but is home to over 10% of the remaining world population.
The limit of disaster
Royal Society of Biology Photographer of the Year: Second from Roberto Bueno. Roberto Bueno
The boundary between forest and land with no trees for agricultural use in Belize.
This straight line represents the boundary between nature and man, the judges said. Such human impacts can be seen around the world as ecosystems undergo large, dramatic changes.
End of a thousand dreams
As extreme weather events become more common, it is important to recognize the effects they have not only on humans but also on the rest of nature. Two baby baya weavers pictured here fell out of their nest and died after a cyclone.
The highly acclaimed young photographer of the year was Saptarshi Gayen.
He took this picture in Hooghly, West Bengal, India. Two baby baya weavers (Ploceus philippinus) had fallen from their nest and died after a cyclone that fell victim to the increasingly severe weather events associated with climate change.
In the 1800s the entire canyon was covered in ice, but today the glacier has retreated so much that it has created various problems, including unstable rock. Rory Stringer
The young short-listed photographer of the year was Rory Stringer.
This photo of bare rock that was once covered with thick ice was taken on the Ischmeer Glacier in the Swiss Alps and is evidence of the effects of global warming.
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