The junior winner this year is Skye Meaker from South Africa for his picture of a dozy leopard in Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve.
The animal is well known and goes by the name of Mathoja, which in the Bantu language means “the one that walks with a limp”. The leopard broke a leg as a juvenile.
It survives but has to fight hard because unlike other big cats it cannot pull dead prey into the trees to eat it, says Skye. That means eating on the ground where hyenas are always trying to pinch a kill.
“We waited several hours to get this shot. I wanted Mathoja’s eyes to be open, and just for a couple of minutes that’s what happened. Mathoja looked straight at us.”
As well as his grand title, 16-year-old Skye wins the 15-17 Years Old category.
He has a big future, believes Kidman Cox: “I’ve had enough of leopards on a log; it’s a cliche.
But Skye has something different here. I think again it’s to do with the light; the dappled green in the background. And then there’s the expression on the leopard’s face.”