Stunning Photo of Gorilla Appreciating Butterflies Will Make You Appreciate Nature Conservation

by Jonathan Howard

Who doesn’t love butterflies? This photo of a gorilla smiling in a cloud of butterflies has us itching to get outside. Nature truly is amazing.

The photo was taken by UK photographer Anup Shah in the Central African Republic. It was entered into The Nature Conservancy’s 2021 photo competition. Over 100,000 photos were entered into the contest, and Shah won.

It is a beautiful photo of a western lowland gorilla among a cloud of butterflies. The small, colorful insects fly all around while the gorilla appears to smile. The ape has its eyes closed and is seemingly taking it all in.

One of the judges in the competition, Ben Folds, said, “I like photos that keep dragging you in. The face. Tolerance or bliss. It’s really hard to tell and the insects draw you there.”

It’s like the gorilla decided to take a stroll through a field, knowing the butterflies would be there. Almost as if the animal knows it is being photographed.

“Year after year, we are amazed, delighted, and moved by these scenes from around the world,” Meg Goldthwaite of The Nature Conservancy said. “They remind us how connected we all are on this planet, and they energize us as we continue the important work of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

While the gorilla picture earned her the top award, she had another photo entered into the competition.

A Gorilla, Wildebeest, and Organgutan Walk into a Bar

The Nature Conservancy photo competition draws thousands upon thousands of entries. Another one of Shah’s photos was selected as an honorable mention in the Wildlife category. That photo featured wildebeests running in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The animals are just so interesting and different than anything you see in North America.

Then, there is the People’s Choice award. While the other photos were judged by a panel, this award is what it sounds like. Basically, a fan vote. So, the photo that captured the hearts of voters was a photo of fireflies.

While it was a series of exposure shots layered onto each other, the photo was still insanely impressive. Before a monsoon hit, the fireflies gathered up in the tree. Captured by Prathamesh Ghadekar, the photo is remarkable.

“Later the images were stacked in Adobe Photoshop. This image contains 16 minutes of viewing time of this amazing tree,” Ghadekar said.

Yet another prize winner, this one in the People and Nature category was a photo of a baby orangutan lying on a surgery table. Doctors are getting the animal ready for surgery in the photo. All the photos are great. Each photo makes you want to appreciate nature. So, look around and you might get a pretty photo or two.