Grand Prize

Camouflage Rhino

The Forest of the Monarchs

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacán, Mexico

An awe-inspiring look into a fragile phenomenon: Immense swaths of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) sleeping, clinging in clusters, no doubt weary after having made the 3,000 mile migration from Canada and United States to Mexico. These monarchs make the reserve their home until Spring, and during their stay, they rest, reproduce, and prepare for the long journey back. During this eight-month cycle, it is estimated that five generations of these beautiful butterflies are born and die. In contrast to the sheer enormity of the Monarchs in this image, in reality, sights like this could potentially become rare in the future. This is entirely because of the realities of climate change, deforestation, and pesticide exposure, including an overall loss of the milkweed plant, the only plant in which the Monarch lays their eggs. However, all is not lost, with many organizations in the United States and Mexico mobilizing to save this incredible migratory effort, with promising numbers leading the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifying this behavior vulnerable as opposed to endangered.

Jaime Rojo

Madrid, Spain

Jaime Rojo is a photographer and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in environmental stories about wilderness and wildlife. A passionate advocate for conservation, he hopes his images ultimately become tools for protecting nature. His most recent project, Saving the Monarchs, was featured as a cover story for National Geographic Magazine depicting the migration of the Monarch Butterflies, including their natural history, the threats they face, and the people working to protect them. Jaime is an International League of Conservation Photographers Senior Fellow, a trustee of the WILD Foundation, and is the recipient of honors in competitions such as World Press Photo, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Picture of the Year International. 

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