Mother’s little headful, Udayan Rao Pawar, India, 2013

Udayan Rao Pawar/Unforgettable Behavior
October 28, 2021
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Udayan Rao Pawar/Unforgettable Behavior

Mother’s little headful
Udayan Rao Pawar, India

One night, Rao Pawar camped near a nesting colony of gharials on the banks of the Chambal River. There were two groups, each with more than 100 hatchlings. Before daybreak, he hid behind rocks beside the babies. “I could hear little grunting sounds,” Rao Pawar said. “A large female surfaced near the shore, checking on her charges. Some of the hatchlings swam to her and climbed onto her head.” Gharials were once found in rivers all over the Indian subcontinent. Today, “the Chambal River is the gharial’s last stronghold, but is threatened by illegal sand-mining and fishing,” Rao Pawar said.

Technical specification: Canon EOS 550D + 100-400mm lens; 1/400 sec at f13; ISO 1600

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