The Rules

Who can enter the Pangolin Photo Challenge 2023?

The competition is open to all amateur photographers aged 13 or over from any country in the world, with the following two exceptions:

  • Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives or households
  • All Professional wildlife photographers, photo tour leaders, and qualified (full-time or freelance) field guides and trackers
    (Please note that any winner of a safari or voucher who is under the age of 18 must travel with another person aged over 18)

This Pangolin Photo Challenge 2023 is divided into ten challenges: Birds of the World, Monochrome Wildlife, The Red List, Animal Behaviour, Wildlife in Motion, Urban Wildlife, Water as an Element, Natural Landscapes, The Small Stuff and The Best of 2023.

Entry Is FREE!

Last year we asked for donations to the Kalahari Wildlife Project to support their pangolin rescue and rehabilitation work, and we raised over R600,000, which was amazing! Thank you!

This year we are not asking for any money, but just some of your time to learn more about African Pangolins and what to do when you see one in the wild. It’s that simple.

All you need to do is complete our Pangolin Guardians online course, and when you have done so, your Pangolin Photo Challenge account will be opened for you right away with a credit to enter up to ten images!

You can use these credits in any way you like. One per challenge, or all in one. It's up to you.

To create a Pangolin Photo Challenge account, all you need to do is register and complete our Pangolin Guardian online course. This two-part course will not only teach you a few things about pangolins that you might not have known but also share some guidelines on how to enjoy an encounter with a wild pangolin.

It’s a very short and engaging course (suitable for all ages and taking around 15 minutes), and once completed, not only will you become an official Pangolin Guardian, but you will also receive 10 image credits for the Pangolin Photo Challenge. Click here to register for the course now!

Every image that you enter will count as a ticket in the grand prize draw at the end of the year, so you can win a photo safari just by entering!

Images must be taken in 2022 or 2023 (except for the Best of 2023, which is for images taken this year only), and we have detailed rules in the neighbouring section.

Image Submission

The image submitted to the Pangolin Photo Challenge must adhere to the following conditions:

The submitted image must have been taken in 2022 or 2023 (except for the Best of 2023 Challenge, which must have been taken in 2023). The metadata of the file will be inspected to ensure qualification. The capture date will be published on the website along with the image. Please make sure that when you export your image from your editing programme of choice, you select to include the Meta (aka Exif) data with the image. This contains your settings for the display.

You may not enter any images that were submitted in the 2022 Pangolin Photo Challenge. Repeat images will not be considered.

All images should be a faithful representation of the original scene in the natural world. The subject should be wild, not captive. The scene should not be staged for photography. Composite images will not be allowed (except for night photography images). Post-production adjustments can be used, but excessive use will count against the image’s overall standing with the judges.

The judges may request the original image file for review when the shortlist has been completed. This will precede their judgement and declaration of the challenges and portfolio winners and runners-up.

Please note. An image that has previously won a national or international nature photography competition prior to The Pangolin Photo Challenge will NOT be considered. If chosen as a winning image and later found to be in contravention of this rule, it will be disqualified.

The judges reserve the right to refuse photos that they deem unsuitable at their discretion. The image must be the sole property of the submitter and have no third-party publishing rights or restrictions attached to it.

The image must have been taken by the submitter. Your images must be submitted as jpeg files without a watermark. The platform that we use will place a standard watermark on your image to protect it and also allow for the image to be judged anonymously.

The judging process is conducted blindly, so all watermarked images will be rejected. Once the winners have been selected, the competition organisers will delete all the submitted images from their servers or cloud-based storage.

The owners of the winning images give permission for their images to be used for the purposes of promoting the Pangolin Photo Challenge. All entrants give permission to Pangolin Photo Safaris to display their image on the Pangolin Photo Safaris website and social media channels.

Obviously, no AI-generated images will be allowed. If suspected, the judges will be asking for RAW files as well as images taken before and after a sequence.

Editing- The Dos and Don'ts


  • Adjust your image in post-production, but don’t get carried away. Adjustments in exposure, contrast, white balance, sharpness, and local adjustments are allowed.
  • Cropping is fine, but make sure that it is not in some strange shape or cropped too small so as to lose image quality.
  • Turning your image from colour to black and white (or similar) is fine.
  • You may remove sensor spots from the image.
  • We will allow for HDR manipulation and focus stacking as long as they are used with restraint.
  • Panoramas are allowed.


  • Add anything to the image in post-production.
  • Use effects like frames or canvas mimicry.
  • Include a watermark on the image, as the judging is done blind.
  • Remove any object in the image that would constitute more than 5% of the image (except for sensor spots).

We acknowledge that editing software has become increasingly sophisticated at removing elements from images (in fact, Sabine made a video about it here). We would not advise using this technology too enthusiastically, as we will be requesting the original image, and a drastic elemental removal would count against you in a tight contest.


No images that have used live or dead bait when capturing the image will be allowed in this photo competition. If the judges suspect that a subject has been coerced, baited, or harassed, the image will be disqualified from the competition.

To clarify, we do not consider photographing a bird or mammal drinking or bathing in a permanent water source (waterhole, man-made lake or reservoir, garden pond, or birdbath) to be a baiting scenario. If the body of water has been stocked with fish, for example, for the purposes of capturing images of birds fishing, we would consider this to be baiting. This includes hides where fish are replenished regularly, rather than a natural breeding ground for the fish. If you are not sure, then please email us at with information on the scenario in question so we can make a judgement call.

Agreement or Participation

By entering an image into this photo competition, you agree to and are bound by the rules set out above. Entrants agree to have their names added to the Pangolin Photo Safaris email newsletter database. This will be the primary method of communication and updates.


The judging of The Pangolin Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be carried out by The Pangolin Photo Hosts and Directors as well as guest judges selected for their skill and expertise in the field of wildlife and landscape photography. The judges’ decision is final, binding and non-negotiable.