Thursday, October 22, 2009


With the help of his feisty cat, Igor Shpilenok won the Urban and Garden Wildlife category with this shot.

He spent five months as a ranger in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka in the east of Russia, and took his cat Ryska with him for company.

"It's a very remote place and there were lots of animals - bears, foxes, wolverines - living near my cabin," he told BBC News.

"The cat was really jealous about me. If I started to look at the animals, she would attack them. Just like a woman," he smiled.

"Maybe she thought I was her pet."

But the animals were curious about the area's new residents, and were drawn by cooking smells from the cabin. The foxes in particular would visit every day. "When they came within 20m, that was her boundary and chased them. It was really funny - foxes were climbing trees to get away from the cat."

Mr Shpilenok's wife, Laura Williams, selected the category-winning image. "It's ironic," she said. "He photographs the wilderness, but the two times he's won a category [in this competition] it's been the urban wildlife one. Because the wilderness is his back yard."

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