Head Start

Dhritiman Mukherjee's Image

Dhritiman spent many days watching gharials from the riverbank in silence so as not to disturb them. He eventually captured this image of a large, four-metre-long male – identified by the bulbous growth at the tip of its snout – providing support for its month-old offspring. At various times, all sexes care for their young.

A male gharial may mate with seven or more females, forming one large crèche for all their hatchlings. The species’ habitat is threatened by the removal of sand from the riverbanks on which they nest, as well as the damming and diversion of rivers. Although there are only around 650 adults worldwide, the gharial population is growing due to conservation efforts.

Behind the lens

Dhritiman Mukherjee

Dhritiman Mukherjee


In the last 20 years Dhritiman has pushed his limits as a photographer to do work that is compelling and scientifically essential. Of his several accolades, his proudest are the Carl Zeiss Conservation and the RBS Earth Heroes awards. He is a published photographer, has co-authored the book Magical Biodiversity of India and is the founder of Saevus, a nature and wildlife magazine.

Image details

  • Nikon D750
  • 70–200mm f2.8 lens at 170mm
  • 1/100 sec at f16  •   ISO 640
  • National Chambal Sanctuary, India
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

Support our important work

Help us harness the power of photography to advance scientific knowledge, spread awareness of important issues and nurture a global love for nature.

Donate now

Discover more

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive email updates about Wildlife Photographer of the Year news, events, science, products, services and fundraising activities. We may occasionally include third-party content from our corporate partners and other museums. We will not share your personal details with these third parties. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice.