Global warming, plastics, oil spillage and overfishing – issues affecting our oceans are aplenty. Radha walked around the fishing dock at Karwar, watching trawlers arrive, loaded with all kinds of marine life forms. As the fishermen sorted out their catch, the non-edible ones were casually tossed away on land, and not back into the water, even if they were alive. Then there was this large Long-headed Eagle Ray that fetched its captor a few thousands. Expectant female rays are turned belly-side up, guts ripped open to feel for embryos, which are then tossed away as waste. How can they possibly cope with this rate of depletion?

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This image won Radha Rangarajan a Special Mention in the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2015.

The citation said “But for your poignant image, it would have been just a regular market day at the fishing dock at Karwar, Karnataka. The out-of-focus, bustling, laughing figures behind, only accentuate the deep sense of despair that permeates the image as you focus on the lifeless Long-headed Eagle Ray, won at an auction, being carried to its final destination in someone’s kitchen. So little is known about rays in India, that even the five experts we contacted for a positive identification on the species gave us five different answers. Your picture is a grim metaphor for the state of our oceans, which are rapidly being emptied of species, even before they can be properly studied.”