Every year the European Researchers' Night takes place in many cities all over Europe. It is an outreach event to show to the public how science works, who scientists are and why their findings are important. During this year's event the University of Sheffield organised a photography competition and I entered with a couple of pictures. A shortlist was chosen by the organisers and between those the overall winner was determined by a public vote. Gratefully I can report that my picture of the Burmese baby elephant "Carly" was well liked by the audience and won the first prize. Needless to say I am very pleased. Many thanks to the people who came to view the shortlisted entries, and especially so to the people who voted for this photo ;).
The picture was taken on a research expedition to northern Myanmar, where Dr. Virpi Lummaa and her team conduct research on the reproductive success of semi-captive elephants in the timber industry and how it is influenced by environmental and anthropogenic factors. Great thanks go to Dr. Virpi Lummaa, Dr. Hannah Mumby, Dr. Khyne U Mar, and the eponymous Carly Lynsdale, for letting me tag along.
Here is the picture with caption:
Myanmar working elephants are being weighed for the research of Virpi Lummaa's group at the University of Sheffield. They try to understand the impact of work and environmental conditions on the elephants and their reproduction. Here, "Baby Carly" (officially named after Ph.D. student Carly Lynsdale by Myanmar Timber Enterprises) only dares to go on the specially constructed elephant-scale when accompanied by her mother, whose weight needs to be subtracted later.