The good life
After a three-hour trek through the forest of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Daniël finally caught up with a family of gorillas. In this compelling portrait of Caco, a young, nine-year-old gorilla, Daniël captured the inextricable connection between these wild apes and the forest on which they depend. ‘I hope to raise awareness of the endangered gorillas,’ says Daniël.
Deforestation, poaching and diseases like Ebola have dramatically reduced the western lowland gorilla population over the last 25 years. They are now critically endangered – at the current rate, 80 per cent of the population will be lost within three generations. This image shows how it should be, a relaxed gorilla enjoying a snack of African breadfruit in dense jungle.
‘This is a lovely moment, combining careful and protracted observation of an animal in its habitat with an eye for compelling composition. Our eyes move through the image, from the face to the hand on the breadfruit and back again. The photo takes us right into the life of the young gorilla called Caco and makes us curious to understand his day. Images this good can help inspire and educate, and may perhaps help save this critically endangered species.’
Lewis Blackwell, Chair of the jury
Canon 6D; Sigma 50–500mm f4.5–6.3 lens at 500mm; 1/30 sec at f6.3; ISO 800.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of the Congo
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Daniël Nelson, The Netherlands
When he was six, on a family trip to Zambia, Daniël first held a camera and realised he could create his own pictures. Having grown up in Amsterdam but being lucky enough to travel, he has been following his passion for wildlife photography. This winning image was taken when he was 16. He has finished school and is undertaking a backpacking trip across Africa.