Sewage Surfer Sets Sustainability Tone
Diver|November 2017

THE FIRST Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 finalist images were revealed in September ahead of the announcement of the overall winners on 17 October and the opening on the 20th of the exhibition at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London.

This is the 53rd competition, intended by the NHM to showcase the world’s best nature photography and photo-journalism, “igniting curiosity about the natural world while shining the spotlight on wildlife photography as an artform”.

This year's competition attracted almost 50,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 92 countries, and the finalists and winners are selected on the basis of creativity, originality and technical excellence. On this spread we show four of the underwater finalists.

The NHM exhibition continues until next spring, but after the opening the images will also embark on a UK and international tour. Admission is from 10am to 5.15pm (open until 5.50), adult tickets cost £14, children’s £8, and they can be booked ahead at nhm.ac.uk/wpy

The 2018 competition is open for entries from 23 October to 14 December this year – to enter go to nhm.ac.uk/visit/ wpy/competition.html

Seahorses hitch rides on the currents by grabbing floating objects such as seaweed with their delicate prehensile tails. Hofman watched in delight as this tiny estuary seahorse “almost hopped” from one bit of bouncing natural debris to the next, bobbing around near the surface on a reef near Sumbawa Island, Indonesia.

But as the tide started to come in, the mood changed. The water contained more and more decidedly unnatural objects – mainly bits of plastic – and a film of sewage sludge covered the surface, all sluicing towards the shore.

The seahorse let go of a piece of sea grass and seized a long piece of clear plastic. As a brisk wind at the surface picked up, making conditions bumpier, it took advantage of something that offered a more stable raft: a water logged plastic cotton bud.

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