Brazilian photographer Marcio Cabral won the first place prize under the “Animals” category for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest back in 2017. The photo portrayed an anteater walking towards a termite mound in Brazil’s Emas National Park.
The Natural History Museum, which organizes the competition, recently stripped Cabral of the prize and banned him from entering the contest ever again. Cabral was disqualified because he apparently staged a stuffed animal in the prize-winning photo instead of capturing the actual anteater. According to the Independent, the stuffed animal in the photo was the same one that was normally kept on display at the park’s visitor center.
Prior to the disqualification, the museum received responses from third-party sources claiming that the anteater wasn’t real. As a result, a team of taxidermy specialists analyzed a photograph of the stuffed animal anteater and compared it with the one in Cabral’s photograph. They expressed that both “animals” had the same posture, fur pattern, and other characteristics. Not to mention, the RAW image file of the photo, provided by Cabral, did not include an anteater.
“The competition places great store on honesty and integrity, which is at the heart of the competition,” said the museum in a statement. ”This disqualification should remind entrants that any transgression of the rules and spirit of the competition will eventually be found out.”
View the disqualified photo above and head over to The National History Museum‘s official website to learn more. For more photography news, take a look at this year’s winning images of Sony’s World Photography Awards contest.