WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Commended 2012

Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species

Charlie Hamilton James, UK

Treading water

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.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 800mm lens; 1/1600 sec at f5.6; ISO 1000.

Cocha Salvador, Manú National Park, Peru: latitude -11.1833, longitude -71.1667 Cocha Salvador, Manú National Park, Peru: latitude -11.1833, longitude -71.1667

Cocha Salvador, Manú National Park, Peru

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Charlie Hamilton James, UK

Charlie is a National Geographic magazine photographer who specialises in conservation issues with particular interest in Africa and the Amazon.

  • Light path
  • Lookout for lions
  • Filthy riches
  • Inside job
  • Wild West stand-off
  • Children of the rainforest
  • The beautiful end
  • Big chick check-up
  • Patient care
  • Vultures as individuals
  • Vultures as commodities
  • The last stand