The judges of the prestigious wildlife photographer of the year have disqualified a winning contestant after the anteater in his award-winning photograph was deemed "very likely" to be a specimen of taxidermy. Called "The Night Rider," the image was taken by photographer Marcio Cabral and depicts an anteater beneath the starry sky next to a mound of termites dotted with a bright bioluminescence. A team of five scientists judged the work to be false, a conclusion that Cabral categorically denies.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is run by the Natural History Museum in London, and Cabral's photo won the category of Animals in their Environment in 2017. The NHM began an investigation into the photo after that was contacted in March by anonymous sources that questioned the authenticity of the image. The NHM said it was provided with evidence that included high-resolution photos of an anteater at the Portão do Bandeira gate, one of the entrances to the Emas National Park in Brazil, where the winning photo was taken.
In a statement, the NHM said:  "After a thorough investigation, the museum concluded that the available evidence suggests that this statement is true, as a result, the museum believes that the image violates the competition rules. , which states that "entries should not deceive the viewer or attempt to distort the reality of nature."
The NHM said that it consulted with external experts who specialize in Mammals and South American anteaters in the photo. and they said there were "elements of the animal's posture, morphology, tufts of skin and patterns on the neck and head that are too similar for the images to show two different animals."
The NHM said that Cabral had cooperated fully with the investigation and had uministrado RAW images taken before and after the winning shot, but none included the anteater. Cabral also provided a witness who said he saw the anteater alive and also gave the NHM an explanation as to why it did not have other images of the anteater. According to The Guardian Cabral's original legend for the photo stated that he spent days frustrated by the rain in Emas National Park, before "a giant anteater came out of the dark," staying "long enough" " to be captured in a single long exposure shot.
Cabral is no longer considered a category winner of the competition, and the photograph has been removed from the NHM exhibition, website and world tour. The NHM said that Cabral will not be able to participate in the competition again.