Wildlife photographer of the year has prize revoked for using dead animal

He took the life out of wildlife.

A Brazilian shutterbug won a top prize in the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition — until experts determined his anteater submission depicts a piece of taxidermy.

Marcio Cabral’s photograph, dubbed “The Night Raider,” had won in the Animals in their Environment category for the 2017 competition.

The nocturnal image shows an anteater moving toward a glowing termite mound in Brazil’s Emas National Park. But after consulting with taxidermy specialists and anteater researchers, the museum ultimately determined that the critter in the photo is a fraud and is actually the same model seen at the visitor’s entrance to the reserve, according to the BBC.

Cabral, however, is sticking by his guns, claiming that the scene he captured is all-natural.

“It would be very unlikely anyone wouldn’t see a stuffed animal being transported and placed carefully in this position,” Cabral told the BBC, adding that he has a witness who was there with him the day he took the shot.

The top judge called the rescinding of the award a warning to future rule breakers.

“This disqualification should remind entrants that any transgression of the rules and spirit of the competition will eventually be found out,” chairwoman Rosamund Kidman Cox said. “I find it disheartening and surprising that a photographer would go to such lengths to deceive the competition and its worldwide following.”

Cabral, in a photo caption, described the anteater’s appearance as a “surprise bonus” that just happened to traipse into his shot.

Third parties first raised concerns to the museum that the anteater in the image was a fake.

Experts reviewed the photo and compared the anteater’s features to the taxidermied one on display and all came to the same conclusions.

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