Photographer captures shocking (and stunning) image of seahorse holding trash

Written by on September 15, 2017 in Celebrity Critters, Critter Crimes - No comments

It’s the photo that is really making waves.

Nature photographer Justin Hofman was in Indonesia when he spotted and snapped an incredible — and infuriating — image.

A seahorse carrying a cotton swab.

“It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it,” Hofman posted on social media.

“What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet?”

It’s simply eye-opening.

The image is titled “Sewage Surfer.”

And it’s now a finalist for the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in the single image category.

The image has gone viral due the nomination this week.

The jury wrote:

“Hopping from one floating object to another, seahorses often hitch rides on currents and grasp onto ocean debris with their delicate tails.

But the subject of photographer Justin Hofman’s lens swam into trouble when it let go of a piece of seagrass and seized a thin piece of clear plastic. As a brisk wind picked up at the surface of a reef near Indonesia’s Sumbawa Island, the small swimmer’s ride became a rough one.

In search of a more stable raft, the seahorse then landed upon a waterlogged cotton bud that washed in on the incoming tide.

Indonesia is known for having the broadest selection of marine biodiversity in the world. But the country is also second only to China in its contribution to marine plastic – fuelling the growing concern that unnatural ocean waste could outweigh fish by 2050.

Justin not only captured the seahorse and its unnatural vehicle, but also murky water filled with debris.

Indonesia has pledged that by 2025 it will reduce the amount of waste being discharged into the ocean by 70%.

(You can see all the finalists here. The exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London opens Oct. 20.)

And Hofman hopes the photo inspires people to act.

“I am floored by the response to the seahorse photo,” he wrote. “Our voices will create change. Thank you all!”

It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet?
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thanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris

A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on


Photo Justin Hofman/Facebook

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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