The carefully transposed image of an anteater stalking its prey under the South American night sky was disqualified as a Wildlife Photographer of the Year image because the animal featured in it is stuffed.
Experts examined "The night raider" by Marcio Cabral, the 2017 Animals in their Environment category winner, and determined the aardvark in it was a taxidermy specimen that is kept on display at the entrance to the gate of the Emas National Park in Brazil where the image was shot, according to London's Natural History Museum, which conducted the investigation.
"Five scientists, working independently of each other, all concluded there are elements of the animal's posture, morphology, raised tufts of fur and patterns on the neck and head that are too similar for the images to show two different animals," the museum said Friday in a release. "The experts would have expected some variation between two individuals of the same species."
An anonymous tip in March, after his win, led to the investigation, in which Cabral cooperated. He denied it was a taxidermy animal, according to the museum.
"The Museum believes that the image breaches the competition rules, which state that 'entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to misrepresent the reality of nature,'" museum officials said in a release.
Cabral was disqualified and will not be considered a Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner or finalist. He also is not allowed to enter the competition again.
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