A museum in Japan has cancelled its annual photography competition after choosing a photo of a man standing on top of a beached whale as its winning entry.
The photograph, in which the man is holding his arm up in a fist pump, was selected from 118 entries.
Contest judge Keiko Fujii – a member of the Hokkaido Photography Association – praised the photographer for taking a rare photo of a man looking proud in a victory pose.
“I thought the whale was alive and he had courage to climb on top of it and I was moved,” she said.
But the announcement of the winning photograph sparked immediate criticism on the museum’s website.
One comment read: “I am very, very sad as a person who loves the nature of Hokkaido.”
The Okhotsk Sea Ice Museum has now apologised for choosing the photo.
“We lacked consideration and awareness despite being an organisation that studies the natural environment,” a spokesperson said.
“We will reflect on this seriously as we offended many people.”
The museum is in the town of Monbetsu, in Northern Hokkaido, and claims to be the only museum in the world to focus on ice floes.