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Crocodilian images which reveal fascinating stories told from a visual perspective.


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Jewel of the Nile

Nile crocodile portrait

March's Pic of the Month is a portait of Thomas Lovell Beddoes' dusky river dragon, the Nile crocodile, photographed by Charles Booher at Silver Springs in Florida. While this species is found throughout Africa (mainly sub-saharan) it will always be associated with the River Nile in Egypt. Revered and treated like gods by the Ancient Egyptian cult of Sobek, Nile crocodiles still hold considerable power over people. While rare in some countries, in others they are at high densities and regularly threaten humans and their livestock. This has enhanced their negative reputation, and conservation management of this species can be a real challenge against such public perceptions - and perhaps rightly so. Trying to conserve crocodiles and save human lives is the real issue these days for recovering species.

There is still much to learn about Nile crocodiles. This species reaches massive size close to 20 feet, yet dwarf populations have been found in the last few years on the edge of their range - less food and lower temperatures means less growth, yet these crocodiles are still able to survive. Perhaps most remarkably, a small population was recently found in sheltered caves in the Sahara desert of all places - a testament to their tenacity when it comes to survival, and perhaps a clue to their evolutionary success.

WINNER OF THE 2001 PRIZE FOR BEST PIC OF THE MONTH
Some truly excellent photographs were submitted to me in 2001, showcasing artistic talent, an understanding of crocodilian behaviour, or simply an eye for the unusual. Trying to choose a winner from the diversity of photographs submitted was extremely difficult, and this was reflected in the wide range of opinions from the judges (Adam Britton, Boyd Simpson, Jacob Bar-Lev, John Pomeroy, Katisha Wilson of Wildlife Management International; plus Ralf Sommerlad of AG Krokodile and Bill Moss of the Minnesota Herp Society). Each judge ranked their top three images in order, and 3 points were awarded to the best, 2 for the second and 1 for the third. Votes were received for photos in virtually every month! However, in the end the following two images received the most points: David Kirshner's second photograph of "Conglomeration of Caimans" in January, and David Kledzik's photograph of "Parental Care Redux" in August.

Judges felt that David Kirshner's photograph showing a multitude of caimans orientated in the same direction (except for one comic individual) while basking was not only a spectacular photograph, but also told the viewer a lot about caiman behaviour. However, Bill Moss summed up the judges' feelings best about David Kledzik's photograph of a saimese crocodile feeding her young: "This photo held my attention the longest. I found myself studying this picture in wonderment of what the implications might be. While it fell down in technical merit, it made up for it in impact."

So, the winner for the best photograph submitted to crocodilian.com in 2001 is David Kledzik for August with 11 points. Congratulations David! You'll be receiving an A3 Ilfochrome print of a Chinese alligator.

Honourable mentions go to David Kirshner for January (8 points), John White for April (4 points) and Adam Summers June (4 points).

I'd like to thank everyone in 2001 who submitted a photograph for the competition. Apart from being uniformly excellent and fascinating, every single one of them helped give the world a wider appreciation for crocodilians.




Would you like to enter the 2002 competition? Send me a photograph and I'll include the best here each month. The winner will be voted for in January 2003, and will receive an Ilfochrome print prize to be awarded in early 2003. The only criteria for submitting a photograph is this: it must capture the attention.


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