January 2010


Late last month, the Telegraph reported that 2009’s Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year was under investigation, after allegations that he violated the rules of the contest. Specifically, contest co-organizer The Natural History Museum (NHM) received a complaint that winning photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez had used an animal model in his remarkable photo of a wolf in mid-air.

Rodriguez vehemently denies the claim, but in a press release issued by the NHM today, Louise Emerson stated:

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 Magazine 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.

The £10,000, first place prize will not be re-awarded, and Rodriguez will his £500 category winner’s check in lieu of royalty payments.

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2009 was a very busy year for me. As the Assistant Librarian for the zoo, I kept the library running smoothly (no easy task), by handling all of the collection maintenance, supervising volunteers, obtaining inter-library loans and answering any questions people threw at me. But that’s not really enough, is it?

  • I cataloged 342 items for the library, sending out monthly emails to alert our staff when new items came in.
  • I added 205 articles published in 2009 by our staff to our publications list, reformatted that list, and added password protection to the directory of PDFs to be in compliance with copyright law.
  • I created an online archival database for the Zoological Society archives, based on Archon open-source software (the records are still being propagated with data, however).
  • I created a sitemap for our library website and set-up a Google custom search engine, so our staff can more easily find whatever they’re looking for on the site.
  • In honor of Darwin’s 200th anniversary, all three of our library staff members teamed up to create a video for the zoo’s Darwin Day celebration. It’s not available online, but it was pretty neat and worth mentioning.
  • I updated the library’s Technical Processing manual, last updated in 2003, to reflect the myriad technological developments and revised processes we’ve had since then.
  • I bottle-fed and hosed down a baby rhino.

…But, as an hourly employee, my workweek is only 40 hours long. What on earth have I been doing with the other 100+ hours I have each week?

And, most importantly, I spent a lot of time with my two favorite guys in the world. Like I said, a very busy year indeed.

sunset photos