WPY 2016

Photograph Details

Winner 2016

The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image

Paul Hilton, UK/Australia

The pangolin pit

Nothing prepared Paul for what he saw, or smelled. Some 4,000 defrosting pangolins hidden in a shipping container behind a façade of frozen fish. This was one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. ‘Wildlife crime is big business,’ says Paul. ‘It will stop only when the demand stops.’

Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animal, with all eight species targeted. Pangolin meat is eaten to demonstrate status and their scales are wrongly believed to treat a variety of ailments. These dead pangolins pictured were probably destined for China and Vietnam for the exotic meat trade or for use in traditional medicine.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D Mark III; 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 21mm; 1/800 sec at f8; Manfrotto tripod.


Medan, Indonesia: latitude 3.574783, longitude 98.681854 Medan, Indonesia: latitude 3.574783, longitude 98.681854

Medan, Indonesia

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Paul Hilton

Paul Hilton, UK/Australia

Paul is a photojournalist focused on global environmental and conservation issues, helping to investigate and expose conservation priorities. Widely published in leading international media, he is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has received numerous awards, including a World Press Photo award for his work on shark fins.

  • The end of sharks
  • Sea of death