That ain’t an anteater. A winning image from the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has been disqualified after it came to light that the photographer staged the photo with a stuffed anteater.
Brazilian photographer Marcio Cabral briefly claimed the top prize in the category of “Animals in their Environment” with his image of an anteater feasting on a glowing termite mound. But then, many people noticed something strange: The animal looked almost identical to a stuffed anteater that greets guests at the entrance to the national park.
The Natural History Museum—the contest sponsor—consulted with five scientists to determine that the photographer had staged the photo with the stuffed animal. They asked the photographer to provide RAW images of the anteater moving or approaching the mound, but he claimed not to have any such images.
“Unfortunately, I do not have another image of the animal because it is a long exposure of 30 seconds and ISO 5000,” Cabral told BBC News. “After the flashes were fired, the animal left the place, so it was not possible to make another photo with the animal coming out of the place that is totally dark.”
The photographer maintains that the animal was real and not stuffed. And while we will never definitively know the truth, the folks at Petapixel have put together quite the investigation—check it out.
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