Widowed penguins hug in award-winning photo

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Two penguins look into the distance in MelbourneImage source, Tobias Baumgaertner/Ocean Photography Awards
Image caption,
The photo was taken by German photographer Tobias Baumgaertner

The year 2020 has produced many poignant and powerful photographs.

But a shot of two widowed penguins appearing to comfort one another in Australia has been picked out as one of the winners in Oceanographic magazine's Ocean Photography Awards.

The photo was taken by Tobias Baumgaertner in Melbourne.

He was told that the two penguins had recently lost their partners and often appeared to be comforting each other.

The German photographer won the magazine's Community Choice Award.

St Kilda Pier in Melbourne has a colony of around 1,400 fairy penguins, the smallest penguin species with an average height of just 33cm (13 inches). The colony is monitored by volunteers.

"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," Mr Baumgaertner wrote on Instagram.

"Since then they meet regularly, comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the dancing lights of the nearby city."

The photographer spent three nights with the penguin colony before being able to catch this photo, he said.

"Between not being able or allowed to use any lights and the tiny penguins continuously moving, rubbing their flippers on each other's backs and cleaning one another, it was really hard to get a shot," he said.

"But I got lucky during one beautiful moment."

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