Local Hong Kong Conservationist & Photographer Wins People’s Choice Award In Global Wildlife Competition

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Local conservationist, naturalist and photographer Robert Ferguson has won the People’s Choice Award in Nature TTL’s annual Photographer of the Year 2020 wildlife photography competition. The competition drew thousands of entries from countries all over the world, but Ferguson’s image of a great white pelican taken in Singapore stood out from the crowd. 

Titled “I’m not going easy”, the photograph of the Pelecanus onocrotalus, known as the great white pelican struggling with a non-native fish has been acclaimed in the global wildlife photography competition that saw over 7,000 entries from 117 different countries. 

Explaining how he captured the incredible image, Ferguson said: “These wonderful birds are free to roam, but have established a large colony on one of the artificial islands in the old Jurong park in Singapore.” 

“I had set up my camera to take some portraits and watch their behaviour, and noticed one particular bird that had caught one of the big fish from the pond. I watched, intrigued, as the bird swam in circles, dipping his bill, taking water, then raising his beak to attempt to swallow his large prey. But every time the fish extended its sharp spines on its fins – you can see it hooked on the beak here – and lodged itself firmly.” 

“This went on for over 20 minutes, with no sign of either party tiring. I was fascinated to see the intricate veins in the bird’s throat pouch, as the overcast day backlit the thin skin, and I had to move and crouch low to the ground to get the shot,” Ferguson added. 

Numerous images taken by the local wildlife photographer, naturalist and conservationist have previously appeared in international and regional publications. Regular updates of his nature photography are blogged on his site Wild Creatures Hong Kong, and he has featured his works in an art exhibition organised by the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Hong Kong. 

Read: Hong Kong logs most Asia biodiversity observations in global City Nature Challenge

He also works as the Development Director of local charity Feeding HK, a food bank in the city that helps fight hunger while diverting food waste from landfills. Every year, the NGO provides over 2 million meals to people in need. 

The images featured in this article are some of Ferguson’s incredible portfolio of photographs documenting wildlife in nature, which are now available in a physical 30-page photo guide booklet, where over 100 bird, mammal, amphibian, reptile, butterfly, dragonfly, insect and arthropod species are identified with informative facts about them. 

Wild Creatures in Hong Kong by Robert Ferguson is available online or at the Kidnapped Bookshop in Sai Kung. 

All images courtesy of Robert Ferguson.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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