The picture was recorded by Instituto Biotrópicos and entered in WLT’s International Trail Camera Competition in association with The Times.
The image was one of 17 put forward for the People’s Choice award. The award was decided by an online poll which opened on 3 March and closed five days later.
The Maned Wolf image was a clear winner with 252 votes, beating into second place an image of an Orang-utan captured by South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme, which polled 83 votes.
This is the first instance of a melanistic Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) on record, and the first time a Maned Wolf of this colour has been observed or described. The Maned Wolf is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN.
Instituto Biotrópicos will receive a Bushnell Natureview 119440 trail camera for Veredas do Acari Sustainable Reserve in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Prizes for the main competition winners were sponsored by Enterprise Plants. The overall winner – a Jaguar on a flooded trail in Three Giants Biological Station, a reserve supported by WLT – was awarded a conservation grant of £5,000.
The Maned Wolf image also won the endangered species category of the main trail camera competition and a grant of £2,000.
WLT Council member and competition judge, Simon Barnes commented on this intriguing image: “The black mask of the Maned Wolf won the endangered species category: a strange species usually described as a fox on stilts. But this individual, as you see, is not in the usual foxy colours but in fashionable black: a strange dark animal lurking in the greater darkness.”
World Land Trust has funded trail cameras for a number of its partner organisations. Often it is the job of wildlife rangers to install and maintain camera traps, and you can support wildlife monitoring by making a donation to WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme.