While making a film about giant otters in Cocha Salvador, Manu National Park, Peru, Charlie got to know this youngster well. ‘He was full of personality,’ says Charlie. ‘These animals have a lot of attitude.’ The portrait of the four-month-old cub was taken lying down in his boat, and the cub was as curious about Charlie as Charlie was about him, craning up its neck while treading water. Giant otters are very social and live in extended family groups, with up to eight or so members, giving safety in numbers where local predators, such as caiman, are concerned. They are officially listed as endangered. In the past, the main threat was hunting, but now their habitat is being destroyed and degraded by logging, mining, pollution, overfishing and even dams, and their numbers are rapidly dropping.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 800mm lens; 1/1600 sec at f5.6; ISO 1000.
Cocha Salvador, Manú National Park, Peru
Charlie Hamilton James, UK
Charlie is a television presenter and photojournalist, specialising in technical wildlife images and conservation documentaries. His lifelong obsession to understand, document and protect the natural world has led him to win numerous international awards as a photographer and cinematographer. He is currently working on several assignments for National Geographic Magazine.