Fennec fox, a species in danger
Nature, first prize singles
An adult fennec fox crouches in a village sheep pen. The fox had been captured as a cub, and kept as a pet for over a year.
The fennec is the smallest of the Canidae (dog family) and is found in desert and semi-desert areas of North Africa. It is particularly well-adapted to desert conditions—its large ears help dissipate heat, furry under-paws provide insulation against hot sands, and it can live without water for long periods, deriving all it needs from its prey. Fennecs are not an endangered species, but—prized for their appearance—they are systematically being captured to be sold as pets, or used to make money from tourists wishing to pose for souvenir photographs.
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About the photographer
Bruno D’Amicis was born in 1979 in Rome, where he later studied biology and became a wildlife photojournalist, specializing in mountain ecosystems and conservation issues. He has experience and an academic background in animal ecology, conservation biology, and environmental education. His images have been published by leading Italian and international newspapers, magazines, and nature books, including National Geographic, GEO, BBC Wildlife, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, and Terre Sauvage. Among his numerous accolades are a 2014 World Press Photo prize, and a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.
D’Amicis was one of the photographers chosen to take part in the Wild Wonders of Europe project in 2009. He worked on assignment for National Geographic magazine in 2013 and 2014, is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and an honorary member of the Italian Association of Nature Photographers. He has published three books in recent years, one of which, Ornata, is the outcome of his 10-year-long project photographing endangered Apennine chamois and their habitat.