Biplab Hazra was named the Sanctuary Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 for his shocking photo entry, titled “Hell is Here,” which depicts a calf and its mother running for their lives after being set on fire amidst a brutal mob attack.
Taken in West Bengal, India, it beat out 5,000 entries from across Asia as part of the competition organised by Sanctuary Asia, a conservation and environment-protection initiative.
Sanctuary posted the image to Instagram, shown below:
According to the competition website, “In the lead, the cow’s expansive ears are angled forward as she stoicly ignores the crowd of jeering men. Behind her, her calf screams in confusion and fear as the fire licks at her feet.
“Flaming tar balls and crackers fly through the air to a soundtrack of human laughter and shouts.”
This sort of humiliation is routine in the Bankura district of West Bengal, according to Sanctuary, as well as other regions of India, which boasts over 70% of the global population of elephants.
“The ignorance and bloodlust of mobs that attack herds for fun, is compounded by the plight of those that actually suffer damage to land, life and property by wandering elephants and the utter indifference of the central and state government to recognise the crisis that is at hand,” the site reads.
“For these smart, gentle, social animals who have roamed the sub-continent for centuries, hell is now and here.”