How a shutterbug with a stethoscope shot this


Bangalore-based Ajit K. Huilgol’s photograph titled ‘Leopard Descending,’ which shows a leopard climbing down a tree, has been declared runner-up in the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition 2009, in the Behaviour: Mammals category.

The competition was jointly organised by the Natural History Museum, London, and the BBC’s Wildlife magazine.

Huilgol’s work (shot with a Canon EOS-1D Mark lll + Canon 500mm lens; 1/80 sec at f8; ISO 400) was chosen from among more than 43,000 entries from 94 countries.

From the Natural History Museum website:

“Driving along a twisty track in Nagarahole National Park in southern India, Ajit didn’t see the leopard until he was almost at the tree—rather, he spotted her flicking tail hanging down like a bell-rope. In the thick forests of southern India, leopard sightings are rare, and ones lasting more than a few moments are rarer still. Draped over a branch, the female posed for Ajit ‘like a professional model’ for a full 20 minutes. The end of the show was signalled by the sound of a vehicle. But instead of leaping from the tree, she swept straight down the trunk ‘with a grace that was truly sublime’.”


Ajit Huilgol, a kidney specialist, in his own words on his love for the wild:

“Like all children, I was very fond of animals and birds. As Ullas Karanth says, all children grow up listening to stories of the denizens of the jungle. In fact, even our chocolates and biscuits were shaped like animals or birds. But, once we start to go to school, we become ‘uneducated’ in a way. Our heads are filled with history, geography, maths, and other subjects, and animals take a back seat. This happened to me, too.

“When I was young, Jim Corbett‘s tales held me spellbound. I longed to go to the forests he had mentioned and see the wildlife for myself. However, lack of money was a major constraint. I had to study hard to become a doctor and then I specialized in kidney transplant surgery, which is what I do for a living.”

Link via Mahesh Vijapurkar

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: In Nagarahole, tigers are like city buses…

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