WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2018

Animals in Their Environment

Emanuele Biggi, Italy

Eye to Eye

As Emanuele walked along the beach, the stench of rotting sea lion carcasses was almost unbearable. He had seen insects feeding on the corpses, but knew when he saw the iguanas eating the insects that he’d found something interesting. Lying on the sand, choked by the vile smell, he caught this iguana peeping through an eye socket.

With a colony of 15,000 South American sea lions nearby, the beach of Paracas National Reserve is a graveyard for the ones that have succumbed to illness or injury. Others die in occasional mass events triggered by El Niño, where ocean temperatures rise temporarily. The iguanas survive here on the sand, where little vegetation grows, by feeding on insects instead.

Technical specification

Nikon D810 + Tokina 10–17mm f3.5–4.5 lens at 15mm; 1/125 sec at f18; ISO 100; SB‑R200 flashes; Fotopro; DMM-903 bracket

Paracas National Reserve, Peru: latitude -13.940359, longitude -76.27821 Paracas National Reserve, Peru: latitude -13.940359, longitude -76.27821

Paracas National Reserve, Peru

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Love this image?

Choose your favourite from this year's collection. You can only choose once.

Top five favourites

Emanuele Biggi

Emanuele Biggi, Italy

Emanuele is an Italian naturalist with a PhD in environmental sciences. He strongly believes in the power of science communication and the role of photography in sharing the hard work of all researchers, both in their labs and during fieldwork. He is an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

  • Night prowler