An adorable viral photograph of two ‘widowed penguins’ seemingly comforting each other has won big at a photography contest. The photograph, which went viral earlier this year, has now been picked as one of the winners in Oceanographic magazine’s Ocean Photography Awards.
The picture has won the magazine’s Community Choice Award. It was taken by Tobias Baumgaertner in Australia’s St Kilda Pier in Melbourne.
Baumgaertner was told that both the penguins had lost their partners, and met regularly to comfort each other.
“These two fairy penguins poised upon a rock overlooking the Melbourne skyline were standing there for hours, flipper in flipper, watching the sparkling lights of the skyline and ocean,” the German photographer wrote on Instagram in March.
“A volunteer approached me and told me that the white one was an elderly lady who had lost her partner and apparently so did the younger male to the left. Since then they meet regularly comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the dancing lights of the nearby city,” she added.
Widely circulated on social media, the picture spread joy among people spending a difficult year amid the pandemic.
“I posted this image of these two Fairy penguins a little more than half a year ago and since then it has circled the globe, it has been seen by millions and I have received thousands of messages and comments of how these two little guys have touched and mended broken hearts, brought joy, hope and love into your lives,” Baumgaertner wrote in an update shared last month.
St Kilda Pier in Melbourne is home to around 1,400 fairy penguins — the world’s smallest species of penguins, found on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand.
The coronavirus pandemic brought our lives to a halt earlier this year. Heartbreaking pictures brought tears to our eyes on various occasions. In these otherwise trying times, this lovable photograph is a glimmer of hope.
The photograph of the widowed penguins totally deserved to win the photography contest.