Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets at a water hole in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Stirton's images were featured in "Inside the Deadly Rhino Horn Trade."
See the Most Compelling Wildlife Photos of the Year
With a raw portrait of a rhino killed by poachers, photojournalist Brent Stirton has been named the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
It happened at night. Working quickly and quietly, local poachers snuck into South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. They shot a rare black rhino bull with a silencer and then proceeded to saw off its two horns before slipping out of the reserve and eluding discovery. The poachers most likely sold the horns to be smuggled into China or Vietnam. There, the keratin treasures would be peddled as hangover cures and aphrodisiacs, or ground up for traditional medicine.
Soon after the poachers absconded, photojournalist Brent Stirton was on-site to take in the crime scene as part of a mission to investigate rhino poaching in South Africa. There are only 5,000 black rhinos left in the