06 14/06/2017

Photo of rare Bawean warty pig receives National Zoo Photo Award

On top of the seven awards we picked up at the 2017 British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) awards, our South East Asia Field Programme Coordinator was recognised for two of her camera trap photos she submitted to the National Zoo Photo Award.

Chester Zoo conservationist and member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Wild Pig Specialist Group, Johanna Rode-Margono, had two of her photos in the top three ‘Camera Trap Images’ category of BIAZA’s National Zoo Photo Awards.

BIAZA Awards blog: Award winning conservation

Johanna submitted a photo titled: ‘The Ugliest Pig in the World’ which was captured as part of her research into the Bawean warty pig, in partnership with researcher Mark Rademaker and the Bawean Endemics Conservation Initiative. The research was the first ecological study of the Bawean warty pig and Johanna’s paper has been published on open access journal PLOS One.  

Despite being one of the rarest pigs on Earth, the species is often described as the ugliest pig in the world, as a typical male has three pairs of enormous warts on each side of its face. The species is endemic to the tiny island of Bawean, where the population seems to be stable but, as they’re not legally protected, they depend heavily on conservation initiatives. The photo Johanna captured and submitted shows a close up of this unique species. She said:

While some people would call it the ugliest pig in the world, we find it is the most beautiful animal in the world!
Bawean warty pig caught on camera trap

The other picture recognised as part of the photography awards, named the ‘Forest ghost – the critically endangered Bawean deer’, was taken as part of the same study mentioned above. The camera trap survey went on for 13 months using 25 camera traps and recorded only 38 independent videos of the critically endangered deer. 

Bawean deer caught on camera trap

Johanna explains:

Most videos show the deer walking quietly through the forest and are very rarely directly sighted. On this particular video, the stag resembled very much a forest ghost, travelling through the forest in the night.

The competition had dozens of entries with a wide diversity of shots from a variety of BIAZA members and their conservation work - from the work that goes on behind the scenes at zoos and in the field around the world.