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One of the several species of wildlife to be found in the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Resort.

The Trinidad and Tobago Photographic Society, the Nurture Nature Campaign, and photographer Faraaz Abdool have opened the first-ever conservation photography competition in the Caribbean. The “Nurturing the Wild” photography competition seeks to help us all better experience, explore, and reflect upon the wild places and species of Trinidad and Tobago. Nurture Nature Campaign Director Mark Gibson added, “Trinidad and Tobago has so many incredible assets, biodiversity, beautiful hotspots but also some challenges, some threats to these places, and that it’s really an opportunity now to raise awareness of that.”

The competition opened on January 1st and runs through March 15th with three categories. The first, “Captured Lives, ” seeks submissions that tell the stories about the country’s difficult lives of captive and traded wildlife. The second is “Wild & Beautiful,” intended to capture and tell the stories of Trinidad and Tobago’s beauty through photographing the environment and potential ecotourism sites. The final category is “Biodiversity in Danger,” which, according to Gibson, “is really a chance for us to make something, more like nature photography, but moving beyond. Here is a beautiful animal in its natural habitat, but here’s a beautiful animal that is also needing our help and needing our support.”

With both adult and youth submissions, there are up to $35,000 in prizes to be awarded in each category, which will be judged by three photographers and a People’s Choice Award. The grand prize of the competition, sponsored by HADCO, will receive a TTD 6,000 cash prize, a desktop professional EPSON photo printer valued at TTD 5,432, and a commemorative trophy.

However, there are some rules for those wishing to participate. Gibson explained, “Conservation is so important as a principle but also practice, meaning, how we take these photos matters just as much as what we take photos of. We want to encourage people to take photos that are highly ethical and there are different guidelines about that. For instance, we do not allow imagery taken by drones of animals. It can be [of] places, but not animals, and drones are highly intrusive and present a risk to animals when they get quite close.”

The competition is open to all Trinidad and Tobago nationals and residents. Submissions close on March 15th on the Trinidad and Tobago Photographic Society website for those interested in participating.