Red panda snap earns top prize for Carrick photographer

A Carrickfergus snapper has scooped a number of prizes in Belfast Zoo’s annual photographic competition.

The competition, which has been running for 34 years, is sponsored by HB and challenges budding and amateur photographers to creatively photograph the animals and scenes of the zoo.

Joe Beattie of Carrickfergus Camera Club won first prize in the 'best picture by a club photographer' category for his striking image of the elusive red panda.

In the same category, he was highly commended for his shot of a striped hyena.

Joe also won third prize in the 'best black and white picture' category with a photograph of a Barbary lion.

Zoo manager and competition judge, Alyn Cairns, said: “Despite the fact that the competition has been running for more than 30 years, we are always stunned by the standard of the submissions, as well as the quality and skill demonstrated by entrants.

Red panda by Joe Beattie.

Red panda by Joe Beattie.

"Having moved the competition into an online and digital platform this year, we have received almost double the amount of submissions with more than 650 entries! The photographs certainly highlighted the beauty and diversity of the species that we care for.

"This year we even introduced a new category to challenge visitors to get some snaps of our most endangered primates. We were astounded by the number of species represented in the competition from the tiny pygmy marmoset to Tina the elephant! I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsor, HB, for their continued support of the competition. I would also like to praise the efforts of everyone who entered the competition this year, as well as our winners.”

The winners were as follows:

Category A - best picture taken by a club photographer

Barbary lion by Joe Beattie.

Barbary lion by Joe Beattie.

1st prize and overall winner – Joe Beattie (Carrickfergus Camera Club)

2nd prize – William Allen (Central Photographic Association)

3rd prize – Tommy Millar (Ballymoney Camera Club)

highly commended – William Allen (Central Photographic Association)

highly commended – Joe Beattie (Carrickfergus Camera Club)

Category B - best picture taken by a zoo visitor

1st prize – Mervyn Marshall

2nd prize – Mervyn Marshall

3rd prize – Chris Gunning

highly commended – Lesley Barker

highly commended – Marina Kulakova

highly commended – Chris McSherry

Category C - best black and white picture

1st prize – William Allen

2nd prize- Fiona Beattie

3rd prize – Joe Beattie

highly commended – Bruce Marshall

highly commended – William Allen

highly commended – Chloe Thompson

Category D - best funny caption

1st prize – Gemma Vennard

highly commended – Siobhan Carrabin

highly commended – Fiona Beattie

Category E - best picture taken by someone under 16

1st prize – Alexander Allen

highly commended – Joshua Willey

highly commended – Alexander Allen

The winners of Belfast Zoo’s annual photographic competition were selected by a judging panel including two professional photographers.

You can see all of the winning photographs from Belfast Zoo’s annual photographic competition 2017 at