A photo of a sea turtle accurately summarising how most of us are feeling this year has taken home top prize in the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
The turtle, lovingly referred to as Terry, was captured flipping the bird as he swam towards the camera with a look on his face that can only be described as ‘unimpressed’.
The image came about by chance, when photographer Mark Fitzpatrick encountered the sea turtle while out for a swim in the coral reefs off the coast of Lady Elliot Island in Queensland, Australia.
As Fitzpatrick went to press the shutter on his camera, he says the turtle raised its flipper to give what looks uncannily like a middle finger. Wildlife experts might tell you that sea turtles are unaware of the meaning of the gesture, but we like to think Terry knew exactly what he was doing.
Terry the Turtle beat out a photobombing giraffe, a puking penguin and a waving brown bear among others to win the prize.
In a statement, Fitzpatrick said it was amazing to see ‘Terry giving people a laugh in what has been a difficult year for many, as well as helping spread an important conservation message’.
I hope Terry the Turtle can encourage more people to take a moment and think about how much our incredible wildlife depend on us and what we can do to help them. Flippers crossed that this award puts Terry in a better mood next time I see him at Lady Elliot Island!
The image was chosen from 42 finalists from a total of 7,000 entries, and in a press release announcing the winner on Tuesday, the competition’s judges said Fitzpatrick’s turtle snap was a ‘clear favourite’ to take home the prize.
According to Business Insider, the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards were established to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and encourage people to think about their environmental impact.
As winner of the contest, Fitzpatrick won a safari trip in Masai Mara, Kenya, a Think Tank photography bag, and a new Nikon camera.
It’s not clear whether Terry the Turtle will receive any reward for his starring role in the photo.
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