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Winner of the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards removed from the competition

The award-winning wolf image has now been removed from the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

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Winner of the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards removed from the competition
José Luis Rodríguez and the image removed from the exhibition and tour.
Photo by Jane Hobson.
After some debate, judges have ruled that the image which won the 2009 title was of a 'trained' animal.

The image, taken by photographer José Luis Rodríguez, showed a wolf jumping over a gate but the competition's judging panel decided that the animal featured was a model which could be hired and as a result, the image could be disqualified as the rules clearly state that photographs of animal models can not be entered into the competition.

Louise Emerson, from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition office, said: "It saddens us to confirm that after a careful and thorough investigation into the image, the storybook wolf, the co-owners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide have disqualified the winning entry of the photographer José Luis Rodríguez.  The judging panel was reconvened and concluded that it was likely that the wolf featured in the image was an animal model that can be hired for photographic purposes and, as a result, that the image had been entered in breach of Rule 10 of the Competition.  The judging panel looked at a range of evidence and took specialist advice from panel judges who have extensive experience of photographing wildlife including wolves.  They also considered the responses to specific questions put to the photographer José Luis Rodriguez.

The competition rules clearly state that photographs of animal models may not be entered into the competition and that images will be disqualified if they are entered in breach of Rule 10. Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition rules are available to all entrants including versions translated into several languages.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the world’s most prestigious photography competition of its kind. Any transgression of the competition rules is taken very seriously and if entries are suspected of breaching the rules they are disqualified.  José Luis Rodríguez’s image will be removed from the exhibition and tour.
Mr Rodriguez strongly denies that the wolf in the image is a model wolf
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JackAllTog Plus
13 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
20 Jan 2010 2:18PM
simples, look for a paw print on the model release form; only joking.

Its a shame the 2 sides could not agree the same story, or at least that Josť did not release a statement defending his use of what i'm now supposing might be a tamed animal rather than a truly wild animal.
User_Removed 15 736 4
20 Jan 2010 2:34PM
What a shame. Still a great pic though.
DannoM 14 58 England
20 Jan 2010 3:44PM
enjoyed seeing this at full size at the exhibition, still an amazing photo.
20 Jan 2010 5:56PM
A friend of mine who used to be a dog trainer told me that the photograph was a setup on the grounds that a wild wolf would not jump that high to clear that gate. According to him a wild wolf would only have jumped high enough to clear the gate, whereas the height of the jump in the photograph suggested to him that the wolf was being encouraged to jump by somebody out of shot.
alfpics Plus
20 388 4 England
20 Jan 2010 7:18PM
I enjoyed seeing it also in the exhibition - still great even if trained; however, can appreciate where the judges are coming from as well
pentaxian 13 12 1
21 Jan 2010 12:17PM
On a side issue... I saw the pic at the Natural History Museum show and it is an impressive shot. But did it deserve to win as a camera-trap shot. Unlike other shots that were actual wildlife action was captured real-time in camera by the photographer, was this shot nit just setting it all up and hoping a great shot would come along?
Perhaps I am being churlish, but there were more skilfull shots that I felt deserved to win the category more than this. But then, I guess it's a ll subjective.

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