safari central presents: The first ever Augmented Reality wildlife Photographer of the Year award


From August 21st to October 7th we ran a photo competition to find the best AR wildlife photo made with Safari Central. On October 9th 2017 it was up to the jury to select a winner from 278 eligible entries. Not an easy feat, though a few stood out immediately. The jury came to a unanimous decision that the photo of Mweturia the Elephant in the hallway of the Smithsonian museum, made by Richard Gudz, was the winner. The photo has an aesthetic quality, has humour and raises questions about conservation, all at the same time. 

The winner of the Augmented Reality Wildlife Photography Award 2017 is Richard Gudz, with his photo of Mweturia the Elephant at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

The winner of the Augmented Reality Wildlife Photography Award 2017 is Richard Gudz, with his photo of Mweturia the Elephant at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Paul Goldstein, wildlife photographer and judge in our competition, on the winning photo: "With any sort of almost April Fool’ style sorcery there has to be a degree of hoodwink, otherwise it is just puerile. This works for a number of reasons, firstly the scale is good, secondly the lady walking with the child appears to be engaged and therefore it made me look twice: the grail for any sort of gag. Too often poor execution ruins these sort of pictures and they just appear clumsy. Not this one. I also love the symmetry and would implore the Smithsonian to actually introduce another elephant into their ground floor display as soon as possible." 

Bittu Sahgal, activist, writer, founder of Sanctuary Asia, agreed with Paul. "My choice for first prize is the image of the man walking in the Smithsonian, between the two elephants. The juxtapositioning of the display elephant and the virtual one dwarfs the human... which represents reality in a context that goes beyond pure size."


We received 278 photo entries from China to South Africa and Norway to New Zealand. That is an incredible global spread! Anna Friel, actress and conservation ambassador: "Well done to the winners, and thank you to everyone who took part. The photos show such creativity and great humour from every corner of the world, and this global spread is exactly what's needed to help support conservation work". 

Best animal awards

But... we're not quite done yet! Our conservation partners are handing out prizes for the Best #AR Animal Photo. 

Best AR Jaguar photo


Atiaia fights over territory with a giraffe in South Africa. Photo by Unathi Mamane. Congrats Unathi from us, WWF Brasil and Pro-carnivores! 



Lola saying grace by Richard Gudz, a second win! Congrats Richard from us & Ol Pejeta! 



Bebi has a thing for brass! Congrats to Stephen Davis from us & Conservation International.



A triple win for Richard Gudz, Best Animal and Best Overall photo! Congrats from us & Space for Giants



Monika Wright depicted Ethyl waiting to catch a meal in a stream, beautiful camera work Monika! Congrats from Chicago Zoo and the IoE team!



The best Pangolin photo chosen by our partners Tswalu. Congrats Edmundo Oliver!

the prize

The winner of the overall Augmented Reality Wildlife Photographer Award, Richard Gudz, received a 7 day trip to South Africa including a stay at Tswalu Kalahari, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. This reward is made possible by Steppes TravelTswalu Kalahari and Internet of Elephants.  

The judges

A big roar of thanks to our expert judges for their time and commitment to the competition!

Bittu Sahgal

Wildlife activist and writer for over 40 years, and founding editor of Sanctuary Asia magazine.

Paul Goldstein

Multiple winner of BBC's Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

Anna Friel

Golden Globe nominated actress and wildlife ambassador



The competition may be over, but the movement is just getting started... Help us connect millions of people to wildlife through fun, informative tech. Get the app, snap a picture, share it with the world! And if you are out of photos, purchase one of our photo packages. All in-app purchases go directly to the conservation of the animals in the game.