Paul Hilton's photograph titled 'The Pangolin Pit' was the winner of the 2016 Wildlife Photojournalist Award in the 'Single image' section. Nothing prepared Paul for what he saw: some 4, 000 defrosting pangolins (5 tons) from one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. They were destined for China, Vietnam for the exotic‑meat trade or for traditional medicine (their scales are thought, wrongly, to treat a variety of ailments). Pangolins have become the world’s most trafficked animals, with all eight species targeted. This illegal trade, along with habitat loss, local hunting, means that the four Asian species are now endangered or critically endangered, and Africa’s four species are heading that way. These Asian victims, mostly Sunda pangolins, were part of a huge seizure – a joint operation between Indonesia’s police, the World Conservation Society – found hidden in a shipping container behind a façade of frozen fish, ready for export from the major port of Belawan in Sumatra. Also seized were 96 live pangolins (destined to be force-fed to increase their size), along with 100 kilos (220 pounds) of pangolin scales (formed from keratin, the same substance in fingernails, rhino horn) worth some $1.8 million on the black market, and 24 bear paws. All had come from northern Sumatra. The dead pangolins were driven to a specially dug pit, then incinerated. The live ones were taken north, released in the rainforest. "Wildlife crime is big business," says Paul. "It will stop only when the demand stops." Paul's equipment includes: Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 16–35mm f2.8 lens at 21mm, 1/800 sec at f8 , Manfrotto tripod. - © Paul Hilton Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Wildlife Photojournalist - Wednesday 19th October 2016 (1 Picture)
The Pangolin Pit
Winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image
Nothing Prepared Paul For What He Saw: Some 4, 000 Defrosting Pangolins (5 Tons) From One Of The Largest Seizures Of The Animals On Record. They Were Destined For China, Vietnam For The Exotic‑meat Trade Or For Traditional Medicine (their Scales Are Thought, Wrongly, To Treat A Variety Of Ailments). Pangolins Have Become The World’s Most Trafficked Animals, With All Eight Species Targeted. This Illegal Trade, Along With Habitat Loss, Local Hunting, Means That The Four Asian Species Are Now Endangered Or Critically Endangered, And Africa’s Four Species Are Heading That Way. These Asian Victims, Mostly Sunda Pangolins, Were Part Of A Huge Seizure – A Joint Operation Between Indonesia’s Police, The World Conservation Society – Found Hidden In A Shipping Container Behind A Façade Of Frozen Fish, Ready For Export From The Major Port Of Belawan In Sumatra. Also Seized Were 96 Live Pangolins (destined To Be Force-fed To Increase Their Size), Along With 100 Kilos (220 Pounds) Of Pangolin Scales (formed From Keratin, The Same Substance In Fingernails, Rhino Horn) Worth Some $1.8 Million On The Black Market, And 24 Bear Paws. All Had Come From Northern Sumatra. The Dead Pangolins Were Driven To A Specially Dug Pit, Then Incinerated. The Live Ones Were Taken North, Released In The Rainforest. ‘wildlife Crime Is Big Business, ’ Says Paul. ‘it Will Stop Only When The Demand Stops.’
Canon Eos 5d Mark Iii + 16–35mm F2.8 Lens At 21mm, 1/800 Sec At F8 and Manfrotto Tripod.
Photo credit: Paul Hilton/Wildlife Photographer of the Year/Supplied by
View All: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016