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Top Wildlife Photos of the Year

Turtle in Trouble

By Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain
Winner of the One Earth Award

It’s an image that communicates in one emotive hit the damage being done to the world’s oceans.

Jordi Chias Pujol came across this desperate scene when sailing between Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, hoping to photograph dolphins.

“I spotted the abandoned net drifting along the surface,” he said. As he dived down to investigate, he could see the loggerhead turtle tangled up in the netting. “The poor creature must have been trapped for some days, it was so badly knotted up.”

Though the turtle could just reach the surface to breathe by stretching her neck, she was still going to die of exhaustion and starvation. Pujol managed to cut the netting and set her free.

“I felt as though it were looking at me for help as it tried to bite through the netting,” he said.

All species of sea turtles are endangered, and need all the help they can get.

Photos in the One Earth category of the competition are required to be thought-provoking and memorable and encourage respect or concern for the natural world and our dependence on it.

Nikon D300 + Tokina Fisheye 10-17mm f3.5-4.5 DX lens; 1/160 sec at f14; ISO 200; housing; Inon strobes.
© Jordi Chias Pujol / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

About loggerhead turtles

Loggerheads are the world’s largest hard-shelled turtle, measuring up to 84 inches long when fully grown and weighing up to 300 pounds. They generally live to be about 65 years old. Loggerheads are classified as an endangered species. They frequently get caught up in fishing nets (as in this photo), but are also losing their nesting grounds on beaches across the world that are being taken over as vacation resorts, where the noise and bright lights confuse them.