‘This was the filthiest shoot I have ever done,’ says Jasper. ‘Clambering about this ghastly landfill site in southern Spain made me aware of just how much trash we generate on a daily basis.’ In the Andalucía region of Spain and elsewhere, the dumps are affecting the storks’ natural behaviour. Instead of feeding on frogs, insects, young birds, rodents and worms, they are attracted to this ready source of rotting food, ingesting potentially lethal elements, in particular, rubber bands and plastics, even feeding them to their chicks. But population counts have revealed that, in recent years, rubbish dumps have become increasingly important to white storks, providing a constant food source during both the breeding season and winter and helping to increase their numbers. The concern, though, is that some populations are now so dependent on rubbish that the replacement of dumps with incinerators, combined with increasing loss of their natural habitat, may cause a future decline in numbers.
Nikon D3 + 70-200mm f2.8 lens; 1/1000 sec at f11; ISO 400.
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Jasper Doest, The Netherlands
Jasper's work has received multiple awards, including in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Travel Photographer of the Year. He has also appeared in numerous international journals and books, including National Geographic magazine, Smithsonian and GEO. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).