Today is the big day! The winners have been announced and published on the NRF SAASTA website. Congratulations to all who entered - the judges had a very difficult time narrowing it down to the top four. We will publish all the winners, the runners up, and the highly commended here over the next few weeks. First, we have the winner of the special category, Science of South Africa: “All South African Lizard” by Shivan Parusnath. "Why is this photograph of a dragon-like lizard a representation of South African science? Well – this is a lizard that can be found in no other country besides South Africa. The Sungazer (Smaug giganteus) is a threatened lizard species found only in the Highveld Grasslands of South Africa, and is one of our true natural treasures. This is the species I have been studying for 6 years now at Wits University – from 2011-2014 for my Masters research, and from 2014-now for my PhD. I wanted to work on this remarkable species because it is truly unique in its looks (it was named after Smaug from the Hobbit!), its behaviour (the only member of its family that digs its own burrows), and the fact that it is threatened by habitat loss and poaching, and desperately needs our help. The Sungazer is one of many, many endemic South African reptiles that we still do not know enough about, and without knowledge, we cannot take action to protect them. I hope that with my photography, I can encourage and inspire people to care more about our reptiles, and help us preserve them so that future generations can appreciate them as I do." #sciencephotography #sasciencelens #sciencelens #science #lens #photography #competition #win #winner #lizard #reptile #study #research #protect #SouthAfrica

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