2015 Fritz Pölking Nature Photography Prize

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Italian photographer Bruno D’Amicis has won the 2015 Fritz Pölking prize with his photography story ‘Fennec, little ghost of the dunes’. The award, named in honour of wildlife photographer Fritz Pölking, who died in 2007, is run by the Society of German Nature Photographers. It is one of the categories in the GDT’s European wildlife photographer of the year awards. Here: An adult fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) stands on top of a sand dune in the Tunisian desert. It is the quintessential desert animal that covers almost all of northern Africa and the entire Sahara. Small dunes with sparse vegetation, which make the sand firmer enabling the fennec to dig burrows, are its typical habitat. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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Fennec pups photographed while playing out of the den in full daylight. Young fennecs are usually born at the end of March and start exploring their surroundings in May. In case of disturbance, the mother can immediately move her pups to another burrow. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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On a starry night an adult fennec fox takes a self-portrait by crossing the infrared beam of a camera-trap setup placed along a trail in the desert dunes. These foxes are active almost exclusively at night and roam large areas to locate their prey in the dark silence of the Sahara. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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A camera trap reveals a fennec digging for beetles between the roots of a Retam broom shrub. Fennecs often and quickly dig in the soft sand to search for rodents and invertebrates or to find cover. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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A few weeks old and not yet weaned, this wild fennec pup is held by a local man who caught it together with its siblings by digging them out from their den. By exposing it on a famous camel trek site for tourists, he hopes to either sell it or to get paid for pictures of it. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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A fennec is displayed in the market (souk), of a Tunisian town. Fit for a life in the silence and solitude of the desert, this individual, caught when already an adult, showed clear signs of distress and aggression in the chaos of the town. It died a few days after this picture was taken. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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Sultan, a famous captive fennec that is displayed tied on a rope in front of a tourist shop, is the main attraction in the souk of Douz, a desert town in Tunisia. By the display of such a charismatic animal, tourists are often lured to buy things or pay for pictures. On inquiry, although Sultan has been caught as a pup in the wild, the owners of the shop reassure the foreigners stating that the animal is ‘domestic’. (Photo by Bruno D’Amicis/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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Young Canadian Connor Stefanison won this year’s Fritz Pölking junior prize with a ‘varied, informative and incredibly well-executed portfolio’ on mountain goats. On a calm morning before sunrise, a small family of mountain goats rests in a boulder field on an alpine ridge. In the foreground is the dominant billy (male), and in the background are the dominant nanny (female) and their kid (baby). (Photo by Connor Stefanison/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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The dominant adult goats and their kid walk along the top of a tall cliff just after sunrise. Alpine rocks contain minerals that the goats lick to obtain necessary salts. (Photo by Connor Stefanison/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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The dominant billy and another smaller billy fight a quick territorial battle. The dominant billy won, even though the smaller billy was able to remove a good tuft of hair from him. (Photo by Connor Stefanison/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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‘Moments before the sun dipped below the mountains, I captured this nanny licking minerals below the mountain peak. Positioning myself in just the right spot, I was able to create a “sunstar” for an additional element of interest in the frame’. (Photo by Connor Stefanison/Fritz Pölking Prize/GDT EWPY 2015)

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