Steve Winter's Image

It took three days for this Asian elephant to die.

It had been shot by villagers as it was rampaging through their crops after monsoon floods had forced it out of Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India. Though the shot itself didn't kill the elephant, the bullet had been soaked in acid, and the animal eventually died from septic poisoning. Here, a man prays in front of the body. 'Locals have a mixed relationship with elephants,' says Steve. 'They see them as dangerous and destructive and yet sacred, too,' icons of the Hindu elephant-headed deity Lord Ganesh.

Behind the lens

Steve Winter

Steve became a National Geographic photojournalist in 1991 and specialises in photographing big cats. He lectures on photography and conservation issues, selling out venues from the Sydney Opera House in Australia to the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, Canada. He won the grand prize for Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008.

Image details

  • Canon EOS 5D
  • 16-35MM f2.8L lens. 1/125 sec at f6.7, ISO 400.
  • Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India
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