Wildlife Photo Contest Winner Announced
June 30, 2023 - The votes are in, and the winning photo in the 13th annual employee wildlife photo contest is a curious red fox kit taken by Kevin Manullang, Senior Process Control Engineer.
Manullang snapped the image of the kit exploring the rocky habitat at the company’s Henderson mine in Colorado. The photo was among more than 500 employee entries from sites companywide. From these, 35 were shortlisted for top 12 finalist consideration by the company’s Biodiversity Task Force.
The red fox kit will appear on the company’s page of the Wildlife Habitat Council’s 2024 Monthly Engagement Calendar, which highlights efforts by WHC members like Freeport to enhance and conserve wildlife habitat on and adjacent to corporate lands.
The story behind the image
Manullang, a mining engineer originally from PT Freeport Indonesia, along with his co-workers first spotted the red fox kit and its family denning adjacent to Henderson’s main office while peering out the window. The discovery delighted Manullang, who had taken up photography as a hobby over the past few years.
“After noticing the group roaming around the main office for weeks, I thought it would be awesome to snap photos of the fox family. So, I decided to bring my camera to work,” Manullang said.
The winning moment came one brisk summer afternoon as Manullang watched the fox family from a nearby parking lot, patiently waiting to get the perfect shot.
“I took the photos with a 200-millimeter lens. Though it creates good telephotography, I felt I needed to be closer. I waited for 40 minutes until I got to a spot I deemed was close enough without disrupting them,” he recalled.
Another employee who saw Manullang in action praised the effort and suggested submitting the photos to the annual photo contest.
“I hadn’t heard about the contest but thought the photos captured natural interaction and would be a cool addition to the entries,” Manullang said. “I never thought I would win.”
About the species
Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are native to western montane regions of North America, though populations can be found across the globe. They are well adapted to human development and can be found in both urban and suburban areas. Individuals or pairs are often spotted in city parks, residential neighborhoods, farms and in transitional or edge habitats.
While red foxes prefer a diet of rodents and other small mammals, these resourceful animals will eat insects, berries and other plant material. They also have been known to hunt small livestock and pets and opportunistically will scavenge through garbage to find food. Red fox kits are weaned by 12 weeks, after which time they will accompany their parents on foraging trips.
Photos (top right; bottom): This red fox kit took first place in the company’s 13th annual wildlife photo contest and will be featured in the WHC’s 2024 Monthly Engagement Calendar; The top 12 finalists selected from this year’s crop of more than 500 employee entries.