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The tragic image of an orphaned macaque wins the Wildlife Photography Award

This poignant picture of an orphaned baby macaque waiting for its fate in a market in Bali was honored in the Natural History Museum's “Nature Photographer of the Year” competition


October 13, 2020

By Gege Li

Paul Hilton

Orphaned and alone, this young pig-tailed macaque has a bleak future ahead of him. It is one of many captured primates for sale at this outdoor bird market in Bali, Indonesia. There it either becomes a pet or is sold to a zoo or laboratory for biomedical research.

Conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton feigned interest in buying the macaque to gain access to the back room of the market to get this picture on the cage, against the backdrop of other young macaques in the same situation. The picture, entitled "Backroom Business", won the Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award in this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London.


Pig-tailed macaques live in large social groups in the wild, but as deforestation drives them from their habitat, more and more pests are being shot as they search crops for food. Those that are caught are packed tightly together in their cages, which encourages the spread of disease. Hilton's work is raising awareness of the plight of these monkeys and other wildlife in international trade and the critical role animal markets play in facilitating the illegal trade in endangered species.

The exhibition "Nature Photographer of the Year" will take place from October 16 to June 6, 2021 in the Natural History Museum.

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