WPY 2010

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2010

One Earth Award

Joel Sartore, USA

The hidden plague

This is a crime scene in a remote corner of California, high in the Sixty Lakes Basin area of the Sierra Nevada: mountain yellow-legged frog corpses lie belly-up. The culprit is a chytrid fungus, which causes the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, implicated in the decline or rapid extinction of at least 200 species of frogs and other amphibians worldwide. The disease was first seen in dying frogs in the Sierra Nevada in 2004, since when it has reduced the population of mountain yellow-legged frogs from tens of thousands to under a hundred. The death of the frogs is emblematic of a global amphibian decline. It's believed that the fungus is being spread in part by the international trade in amphibians for display, food and laboratory use, its effects enhanced by global warming. Its impact on frogs has resulted in the biggest loss of vertebrate life due to disease ever recorded.

Technical specification

Nikon D3 + 14-24mm f2.8 lens; 1/160 sec at f22 (-0.3 e/v); ISO 400.


Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA: latitude 36.887856, longitude -118.555145 Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA: latitude 36.887856, longitude -118.555145

Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA


Joel Sartore, USA

  • Balancing act
  • Storm painting
  • Lion in the spotlight