Animal of the Year photo contest winners

On behalf of the organizers, Mats Kangur, magazine Loodusesõber
Translation: Liis
On Sunday, December 15th, seven photographers who had sent photos to us were awarded their prizes at the festive closing event of the Year of the Wolf in the Estonia Concert Hall.
The photos were ranked by magazine Loodusesõber and and wolf researchers Peep Männil and Marko Kübarsepp. We set particular store on hitting the context and capturing the story told by the tracks as fully as possible in the photo.
The photographers’ stories follow below the photos.
Marko Mänd. Best summertime wolf photo. Well captured and rarely seen event of young wolves exploring village surroundings.
Morning, 8 o’clock. Wife Maarja starts going to Koeru with the children, car engine is running but she comes in to ask about something. I fumble around with things in the hallway when Maarja calls from the door about wolves. I glance outside and rush in for the camera. Sometimes, even if rarely, things are with me, because just a moment ago I pushed a memory card into the camera, and put it handily hanging.
I clicked photos almost on the run because I was quite far from the wolves. There were altogether 3 animals. One moved ahead and the two others followed. Luckily the animals did not run away in panic but let themselves be photographed. I ran closer, only wearing my shorts. The dog had also become aware of the wolves and was barking in the yard. I noticed that the barking made the wolves attentive, and they looked back, evidently the location of a possible prey was noted for future use. I took the last photos from the barn foundations.
So wolves were seen and photos captured. I could add another trophy to the category “Animals from my home window“. I don’t have to persuade myself any longer that the animal encountered at Nahknuia years ago and pursued on bicycle WAS a wolf. There has been a long pause meanwhile, not counting tracks. Now only a bear still remains …
Janek Joab. Best wintertime wolf capture. An evocative photo from a genuine encounter.
The meeting with the wolf was as always unexpected. For me the first time. I was out driving to photograph when the wolf lunged across the road. Everything happened very suddenly. I had just passed the town border, about 300 m, virtually between the houses. It was an exciting encounter, although this time the wolf reacted faster than I, which can also be seen from the photo.
Mare Väät. Best summertime activities trail. Well distinguishable front paw and rear paw prints. The birch leaf gives an idea of the size of the prints.
I was at our country house, at Emumäe, and saw an animal in a distant field, quite far off. The photo was not quite sharp but I thought that it was a wolf. A few days later there were tracks on the road near the house, and then it was clear – it was a wolf.
Tiina Vester. Best wolf prey. The photo of the slain sheep shows that the wolf is not a waster but eats its prey to the last bite. Great photo angle!
In 2011 the daring wolves of Saaremaa became famous for plaguing the Saaremaa sheep farmers. More injured sheep were found on the occasion, but the rule is that only one is eaten properly. As seen only the hide is left of the sheep – a thorough work by the wolves. That year more than 70 sheep were slain or injured at that farm.
Rene Rahnu. Best wintertime activities trace photo. Prints of wolf pack on the bog hag ice and well captured scent sign.
Rubina bog, near Veisjärve. Springtime and full moon nights set the wolves gambolling – ice-covered hags are good playgrounds.
Ingmar Muusikus. Best aesthetic capture. The wolves have used a slender spruce fallen across the river as plank path. Great find and excellent composition.
Wolf plank path. When there is no ice on the river, trees fallen across the water help. Sometimes a tree is so narrow that acrobatic skills are needed to cross by it – wolves have that. The wolf plank has been crossed by 2 or 3 wolves. The same point is used for crossing even when the river is ice-covered.
Tarmo Mikussaar. Best narrative photo. The carefully chosen photo angle tells the story of what is in the photo even without the added comment. The message of the photo is supported by the well chosen angle of light and the shadows of the trees.
Lazy steps of an old wolf. The long claws scratch a story on the ice of the old river meadow pool. A sign that the wolf has felt free and confident.
Awards from magazine Loodusesõber, Overall, adventure company 360kraadi and Ministry of the Environment.




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