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ABOUT THE IMAGE:
The humid jungles around Madhya Pradesh in central India have long attracted a larger than life reputation for being home to man-eating Bengal tigers, but is the fear associated with them really deserved? Most of us in the Western world know of Panthera tigris tigris
only from reading classic adventure stories or by seeing the magnificent striped cats in zoos and circus menageries. Thomas D. Mangelsen has always wanted to witness them firsthand in their wild native habitat.
Bengal tigers today are among the most imperiled large predators on Earth and scientists predict they could vanish from the wild by the middle of this century. With this acclaimed image, Mangelsen portrays a young tigress born into a legendary bloodline of big cats. “Tigers possess an unmatched mystique because of their beauty, elusiveness and size,” he says, “but so often, as with African lions, North American grizzlies and other large predators, tigers have been misunderstood. I wanted Light in the Forest
to serve as a visual meditation, a reminder that tigers are incredible sentient beings worthy of our respect, reverence and protection.”
Journal | May 2, 1998: “We rode on the back of an elephant because foot travel is considered too perilous. The elephant had a somewhat difficult time getting up the steep, rocky slope, which was covered with slippery brown leaves. Sita’s female cub was perched on a rock overlooking the meadow. The forest was dark—an hour later the light came through the trees and sprinkled her face. It was a magical scene and a rare opportunity in the six to eight minutes before she got up, stretched and moved up the mountain, disappearing in the shadows.”
Critics point to this seductive masterwork as further evidence of Mangelsen’s uncanny ability to create remarkable compositions even under challenging conditions. As a result, his work is featured in publications like National Geographic
and has earned him prestigious honors such as BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.