Nayan Khanolkar is wildlife photographer of the year 2016

Photo Courtesy: Nayan Khanolkar 
Nayan Khanolkar's photograph of a leopard walking through a narrow slum road in Mumbai titled 'The Alley Cat' has won him the Wildlife Photographer Award 2016 in the Urban category; given out by the National History Museum in the United Kingdom.

Nayan, now 42, is the fourth Indian to have won this coveted award, considered the Oscars of photography.

Nayan from Dombivli in Mumbai found a mentor in Dutch photographer Frans Lanting  travelling to the British Council Library in Mumbai to study Lanting's cutting edge camera techniques and observations on wildlife photography.

Wildlife, in the early 1990s, Nayan says, was a concept as alien to Indian households as popular medicine and engineering was as viable career options.

A decade and more later, Nayan continued his non-glamorous journey -- of juggling between the role of biology teacher by the day to make ends meet and a photographer by night to fuel his passion to understand "how animals and humans can co-exist in the same society."

It took Nayan four months to capture this particular winning shot and he had been researching leopards in and around the Aarey Milk Colony (in Goregaon, north-west Mumbai) since 2013.

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