Pictures: The photographer’s website (above) today still claims he won the contest
The website of a Spanish photographer stripped of his Wildlife Photographer of the Year title after judges suspected he used a tame ‘model wolf’, still claims he won the contest.
On Wednesday José Luis Rodriguez was disqualified from the competition and banned for life after judges ruled that the ‘Iberian Wolf’ featured in his winning entry was probably a trained wolf from a zoo near Madrid and not a wild animal.
The photographer’s website today still boasts the image on its front page alongside a congratulatory quote from Mark Carwardine, chair of the judging panel, made before the controversy blew up.
Competition organisers say that the photographer denies using a model animal.
However, Rodriguez’ son told us by email that the photographer was currently on assignment in Madeira where he has been photographing ‘marine birds’ in the Atlantic and was therefore not able to respond to our request for comment.
Nor does it seem that the photographer has been in touch with the contest’s organisers recently.
Asked whether Robriguez has been in contact over the past two days, or plans to lodge an appeal, a spokeswoman for the Natural History Museum, which helps organise the competition, said today: ‘The competition office contacted José Luis Rodriguez on a number of occasions during the investigation and he provided responses to specific questions which formed part of the evidence reviewed by the judging panel.’
She added: ‘To confirm, Mr Rodriguez strongly denies that the wolf in the image is a model wolf.’