Daniel Kane

BIAZA Annual Photo Competition 2022 Winners feature some of the weirdest & lesser known zoo and aquarium animals

Posted: 14th July, 2022

Giraffes, Lions and tigers– we’ve all seen breath-taking photos and footage of these much loved and known animals, but how about the likes of turacos, geladas, and Titicaca frogs?

With the theme of ‘unsung creatures,’ the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), sponsored by Timberplay Ltd, announced the spectacular winners of their annual photo competition. They showcased the overlooked but no-less fascinating species found across zoos and aquariums.

'A deadly jewel' by Eleanor Thomas (Chester Zoo) - winner of the 'Weird Winged Creatures' category. Eleanor said: "I spent a lot of time as a zoo ranger and visitor watching these wasps and their reproductive methods however the look on visitors and now school groups faces when sharing this incredible behaviour is always fantastic!"

The winners put animals like jewel wasps, octopuses, and spiders into the spotlight – emphasising not only the vast array of creatures in zoos and aquariums but also the brilliant biodiversity of the planet.

Dr Jo Judge, the CEO of BIAZA said: “It’s really important that we protect and care for well-known animals like pandas and rhinos, but it’s also crucial that we conserve some of the overlooked and unsung creatures of the animal world.”

“Our zoos and aquariums do an amazing job, not only of getting visitors inspired by the sight of an elephant but also getting visitors to care for a whole planet of animals that might be overlooked.”

The photos also highlight the conservation and education work of zoos. From Marwell Wildlife, C A Biggs’ photo ‘Ass-essing a New World,’ (which achieved highly commended in the Unsung Creatures category), features a young African Wild Ass – a wild donkey for which fewer than 600 remain in the wild. This species has been part of a European Endangered Species Programme to help protect it from extinction.

'Hatching Bushmaster' by Daniel Kane(ZSL) - winner of the 'Unloved Land-Lovers' category. Daniel said: "This image was taken as one of the young snakes emerged from the egg and represents the precious moment of new life and first breaths, further enhanced by the rarity of witnessing such an occasion. Watching all five healthy snakes hatch over the course of several days was a moment I won't soon forget."

Entries from ZSL London Zoo took both winner and runner up in the ‘Unloved Land-Lovers’ category, with a hatching Central American bushmaster by Senior Keeper Daniel Kane claiming the gold. This snake can only be seen in London Zoo in the UK and has been a vital source of study for the species. Its successful reproduction captured in the photo is a particularly remarkable moment depicting a rare creature taking its first breaths. 

The competition runs every year and featured three of the categories only being open to zoo or aquarium staff and volunteers, with a fourth category open to the public. 

Complete list of finalists:

Weird Winged Creatures
Winner - A Deadly Jewel, Eleanor Thomas (Chester Zoo)
Runner up - White-crested turaco, Ellie Wiczling (Birdworld)
Highly Commended - Green on Green, Oliver Newton-Browne (Paignton Zoo)

Unloved Land-lovers
Winner - Hatching Bushmaster, Daniel Kane (ZSL)
Runner Up - Tiny and Mighty, Aminah Shabir (ZSL)
Highly Commended - Harry's Gang, David Roberts (Yorkshire Wildlife Park)

Abnormal and Aquatic
Winner - Titicaca frog, Daniel Kane (ZSL)
Runner up - The Curious Frog, Stu Raw (Reaseheath Mini Zoo)
Highly Commended - In the Octopus's Garden, Donovan Lewis (Blue Planet Aquarium)

Unsung Creatures (public category)
Winner - A Giant of Madagascar, Christopher Clarke (Chester Zoo)
Runner up - Earing the February Blooms, Casey Dyke (Marwell Wildlife)
Highly Commended - Ass-essing a New World, C A Biggs (Marwell Wildlife)

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