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Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest Finalists Announced
The Smithsonian magazine has revealed 60 fi nalists for their 15th annual photo contest. This year, 48,000 entries were sent in from155 countries, amongst which fi ve Indian photographers have been shortlisted. Vikas Datta was selected for his landscape image in the Natural World category; Debashish Mukherjee for capturing a boatman reading a newspaper; Yusuf Chiniwala’s image of Yaks at Pangong lake in the Travel category; Swaroop Singha Roy’s image of a deer stag in the forest in the Altered Images category, and Sirsendu Gayen’s photograph of Gangasagar Mela in the Mobile category.
World’s Last Male Northern White Rhino Dies
Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died at OI Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on 19th of March. He was 45 years old (97 in human equivalent age). A team of veterinarians decided to euthanise him due to his agerelated problems and several infections. He is survived by two female rhinos: his daughter Najin, aged 28, and granddaughter Fatu, aged 17. White rhinos comprise of two subspecies: the northern white rhinos, which are nearly extinct and the southern white rhino. During the 1970s and 1980s, the poaching crisis largely destroyed the northern white rhinos in Uganda, Central African Republic, Sudan and Chad. The poaching crisis was the result of the growing demand for rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine to cure various ailments and to use them as dagger handles in Yemen. The remaining wild population of last few rhinos were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the beginning of 2000s, and by 2008, World Wide Fund, the global environment campaign considered the northern white rhinos extinct. To save the species from complete extinction, researchers have pinned their hopes on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). They intend to use Sudan’s genetic material, and the eggs of the last female rhinos to preserve the subspecies. However, IVF has never been attempted with rhinos before. Better Photography magazine and Panasonic India conducted wildlife masterclasses for winners of Wildlife India Photography Awards, and twenty other participants from 25 June-1 July 2017, in Kenya. During this period, the winners and participants were able to meet Sudan in OI Pejeta Conservancy. A video was also shot featuring Sudan, which stressed on wildlife conservation. The film is title Sudan - Last Male Standing, and is available on Youtube. Having known the team that looked after Sudan so carefully, we offer our condolences from India. “We had the singular honour, to meet and touch the very last living male northern white rhinoceros on the planet. We are the very last generation to see this truly magnificent sub-species alive. We could not help feeling a sense of shame that humans killed them off with poaching, just as we do with so many other species. By being bystanders, our responsibility in all this does not diminish,” said Madhavan Pillai, Editor of Better Photography magazine.
Photojournalist Kamran Yousuf Released On Bail
Kamran Yousuf, a freelance photojournalist from Kashmir, was granted bail on March 12, by the Delhi court. He was released the next day. Yousuf was apprehended by the Jammu and Kashmir police on September 4, 2017. The next day he was turned over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). In January 2018, a 13,000 pages chargesheet was filed against him by the NIA, where he was accused of alleged sedition, terror funding, stone-pelting, and involvement with Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salauddin. Furthermore, the media was also accused for the current situation of the valley. However, during the trial, NIA was unable to present any strong evidence against him in court. After 6 months of detainment, Yousuf said, “I don’t want to see it (jail) ever again. I feel this is all a dream.”
Egyptian Photojournalist Faces Death Penalty
Mahmoud Abu Zeid, alias Shawkan, is an Egyptian photojournalist who was apprehended on August 14th, 2013, while covering the anti-government demonstration in Cairo. He was assigned by Demotix–a British photo agency–to report on the clashes between the army, and the supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, which took place in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. Zeid, along with more than 700 people, has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and membership with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian prosecutors have appealed for ‘maximum penalty’, that is death by hanging for all the accused. He was held without any trial or charges till March 2016. The UN Working Group considers his imprisonment as arbitrary, and they have also demanded for his immediate release.