WPY 2017

Photograph Details

Finalist 2017

The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image

Adrian Steirn, Australia

Saved by compassion

This pangolin’s minder was cautious about Adrian’s presence. His charge was shy and it had taken him many moments of patience and round-the-clock care to gain its trust. Respecting this bond and the pangolin’s rehabilitation, Adrian worked carefully to create this intimate and compelling portrait.

Recovering after its confiscation from poachers, this pangolin is one of the lucky ones. In spite of a global ban on their trade, pangolins continue to be the most trafficked mammal in the world, sold for their meat and scales. As with any conservation story, the situation is highly complex, with embedded cultural beliefs fuelling the black market.

Technical specification

Leica S (Typ 007); 30mm lens; 1/250 sec at f2.8; ISO 100; Profoto flash.


Harare, Zimbabwe: latitude -17.8, longitude 31.0 Harare, Zimbabwe: latitude -17.8, longitude 31.0

Harare, Zimbabwe

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Adrian Steirn

Adrian Steirn, Australia

Adrian is an Australian-born photographer and film-maker based in South Africa. He has collaborated on philanthropic projects with Bono and Bill Gates and took the last official portrait of Nelson Mandela as part of his 21 Icons series. Adrian recently launched Beautiful News, a multimedia editorial platform that brings together positive news and citizen journalism.