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UPY 2018 Portrait - Highly Commended
'One of the last ones' - Robert Marc Lehmann
This is one of two Asian small clawed otters which I followed for a couple of days in their rewilding training in the jungle of Palawan, Philippines. They were rescued as babies and people are trying to release them back into the wild after extensive training in the sea, the jungle and various freshwater areas. As these creatures are super agile and fast it was very hard to get a satisfying image. I had hundreds of bad images out of focus or just half of one otter in frame. It was horrible! The river might be in a tropical region, but the water was just 10°C and after long hours without moving I was close to hypothermic, but the final image was worth it. This species is facing extinction in the near future due to habitat loss. I hope there is still time left to save these incredible animals.
Judge's comment: This is certainly a characterful portrait of a rarely photographed subject underwater. Mischievous, inquisitive and endearing - all in 1/80th of a second.
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