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National Geographic Taiwan photo contest 2023 rejects bird photos

Organizer cites concern over alleged bird abuse for photographic purposes

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"Fearless" by Chang Shao-en (張詔恩), a winner from National Geographic Taiwan Photo Contest 2022. (National Geographic Taiwan magazine photo)

"Fearless" by Chang Shao-en (張詔恩), a winner from National Geographic Taiwan Photo Contest 2022. (National Geographic Taiwan magazine photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Submissions are now being accepted for the National Geographic Taiwan photo contest — with the exception of bird photos, due to fears of animal abuse.

The move reflects worries about their alleged mistreatment for the purpose of photography, said Lee Yung-shih (李永適), editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine’s Mandarin version, on Thursday (April 13).

In February, activists flagged a trend for ill-intentioned businesses to create artificial settings featuring wild birds nesting, feeding fledglings, or foraging to attract photographers. Many birds have been harassed, wounded, and died during the activities, according to the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan.

Staged photos are hard to identify and the organizer has decided to exclude the subject altogether for the 2023 edition of the competition to prevent more birds from being hurt. Events will be held to educate the public on the right way to photograph birds, the magazine said.

Categories this year include people, local landscape, nature, eco-sustainability, and works by juveniles. With the contest seeing greater representation from photographers younger than 18, the magazine will for the first time launch a program that promotes photography telling stories of the island nation in high schools and universities.

Now in its seventh edition, the contest has received over 30,000 entries since 2015. Works will be accepted until 12 noon on July 13.

Check out the winners from 2022.