Dhritiman Mukherjee is an Indian wildlife and conversation photographer. For the past 20 years, he has dedicated his life to document and protect wild animals. As a result of spending over 280 days on the fields, Mukherjee has been fortunate enough to witness some incredible moments in the animal world. Recently, his astonishing photo of an endangered crocodile swimming through the water while carrying his little ones on its back went viral on the internet.
The photograph features a male gharial who’s giving a piggyback to over 100 crocodile babies. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a contest which is run by the Natural History Museum of London. Mukerjee’s amazing photo was even on their highly commended list. The gharial is considered a critically endangered species. This makes Mukherjee’s talent in capturing this beautiful and special moment even more fascinating.
Gharials who are one of the largest living crocodiles are also known as fish-eating crocodiles. They were first discovered over 400o years ago and were evolved from the northern Indian subcontinent. However, in the 1930s, the population of gharials faced a rapid decline. To prevent their extinction, captive breeding programs were started in India and Pakistan in the 1980s.
There’s no doubt that these hardships make Mukherjee’s photograph even more impactful. He states that this crocodile has mated with seven or eight females, playing its part to preserve their species. Carrying their young is a common behavior among crocodiles but they usually use their mouth for this purpose. Gharials, however, do things a bit differently because the shape of their snouts makes it impossible. Therefore, they resort to other means such as carrying them on their backs.
What are your thoughts about this heartwarming picture? Also, you can check out more of Mukerjee’s striking photographs below.