WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Winner 2018

Behaviours Mammals

Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain

Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby

Kuhirwa, a young female mountain gorilla, would not give up on her dead baby. Initially she cuddled and groomed the tiny corpse, carrying it piggyback like the other mothers. Weeks later, she started to eat what was left of it. Forced by the low light to work with a wide aperture and a narrow depth of field, Ricardo focused on the body rather than Kuhirwa’s face.

From elephants stroking the bones of deceased family members to dolphins trying to keep dead companions afloat, there is an abundance of credible evidence to show that animals visibly express grief. Kuhirwa’s initial actions can be interpreted as mourning, her behaviour showing the pain of a mother who has lost her child.

Technical specification

Nikon D610 + 70–300mm f4.5–5.6 lens at185mm; 1/750 sec at f5; ISO 2200

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: latitude -1.08095, longitude 29.627623 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: latitude -1.08095, longitude 29.627623

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

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Ricardo Núñez Montero

Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain

Ricardo took up photography as a serious hobby around five years ago, and east Africa has since become his favourite environment. He and his wife, Patricia, founded Little Silverback, an NGO for children's education based in Nkuringo, Uganda. He graduated in professional photography at the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP) in 2017.