A taxidermied anteater, of all things, is at the center of a scandal plaguing a global wildlife photography competition.
The Natural History Museum in London announced Friday that it has disqualified a winning photo from its 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The image, titled “The night raider” by photographer Marcio Cabral, purports to show an anteater in Emas National Park in Brazil.
But upon further inspection, the museum says it’s now convinced that the animal in the photo is actually just a stuffed version taken from the park’s visitor center. Whoops!
Per the museum, it all began back in March when anonymous tipsters alerted competition officials to the presence of the taxidermied anteater located near one of the national park’s entrances. The museum gathered a team of science experts – three from the museum and two outside sources – to solve the mystery.
After comparing hi-res photos of the taxidermied animal to Cabral’s winning photo, the museum says the team determined the subjects were the same.
From the Natural History Museum:
The five scientists, working independently of each other, all concluded there are elements of the animal’s posture, morphology, raised tufts of fur and patterns on the neck and head that are too similar for the images to show two different animals. The experts would have expected some variation between two individuals of the same species.
Despite these findings, the museum says Cabral stands by his claim that the anteater is real.
From the Natural History Museum, again:
Mr Cabral did provide an explanation as to why he had no other images of the anteater. He also provided a witness who claims he saw the live anteater.
Still, competition officials have determined that the photographer broke contest rules when he misled viewers into believing the animal in the photo was real.
The museum says he and the photo have been stripped of their winning title, and Cabral will not be allowed to participate in future competitions.
The lesson of the story: If you’re planning to dupe experts into thinking you’ve photographed an anteater, maybe bring your own taxidermy next time.
Or, alternatively: Do none of that and protect your dignity.
Read more: http://mashable.com/