The Worldwide Photography Gala Awards (WPGA) held their 6th Edition of the Pollux Awards, which was comprised of 380 photographers from 47 countries submitting 2040 images for the competition. Winning 2nd place prize in the "Fine Art" category of the awards was my image from the "New York City Wildlife" series featuring the King Penguins in Central Park, New York City, in an image titled "Reigning Over Central Park." The jurors for this year's Award are the Photographer and Coordinator of WPGA, Julio Hardy; and Call 4 Artists' Publisher and Curator, David G. Hirsch.
The King Penguins (Aptendoytes patagonicus) are the second largest penguin species and are known to dive to depths of over 300ft for their food, and have been recorded as deep as 980ft. These birds were photographed in their natural habitat on the Island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean near Antarctica. Their population is considered stable, unlike their cousins, the Emperor Penguin, which is listed as "Near Threatened" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The King Penguins' numbers are, fortunately, growing and have a Least Concern status. However, a recent study by French scientists of this particular species indicates that they are having to swim further for food in the Southern Ocean, increasing stress and leaving less time for mating and rearing chicks. These scientist attribute this cause to the gradual warming of the Southern Ocean.
The WPGA is located in Regency House, Westminster Place, York Business Park, in York, United Kingdom. More information about the gala awards may be located by visiting their Web site at http://thegalaawards.net/