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Prize-winning picture used rented wolf

Jan. 20, 2010 at 7:41 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A London museum stripped its photographer of the year of his award Wednesday because judges now say he rented his subject from a wildlife park.

The picture by Spanish photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez was one of more than 43,000 submitted to the Natural History Museum's annual competition, The Guardian reported. It shows an Iberian wolf leaping a fence in an apparent effort to get to farm animals.

The museum removed the photograph from an exhibit of winners Wednesday, although it remains in books published by BBC wildlife. Rodriguez must return a 10,000-pound ($16,300) prize and cannot enter the competition again.

The judges were impressed by the photograph, with one calling it "a masterfully executed moment." But calls began coming in from other Spanish photographers saying they recognized the wolf, allegedly an animal named Ossian at the Canada Real wildlife park in Madrid.

Some experts also questioned the shot because a wild animal would be more likely to deal with a fence by wriggling between the bars than by jumping over it like a racehorse.

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