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10 of the Best Wildlife Photos of 2017

 In a ceremony held at the Natural History Museum, London, results of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest were revealed, and the winning photos are worth all the attention they can get. This year, the annual competition attracted nearly 50,000 entries from 92 countries. The Grand Title went to photojournalist Brent Striton for his picture of a black rhino's mutilated body. A judge of the competition commented that it was 'symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.' Below are 10 of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year photos. Take a look:
 
 
Click on images to enlarge
 
1. Arctic Treasure by Sergey Gorshkov, Russia, Animal Portraits Finalist
wildlife competition
Who wouldn't be enchanted by the rugged beauty of Wrangel Island, a place photographer Sergey finds any excuse to return to. Everything needs to be brought in by helicopter as no supplies are available. His two-month trip took a year to plan in anticipation for a spectacular natural event that takes place in late may, whereby a quarter of a million snow geese arrive on Wrangel Island - the world's largest breeding colony. But at the same time, opportunistic Arctic foxes can take advantage of the feast, stealing eggs and storing them for leaner times. But the geese and foxes are well matched - it would have taken luck and cunning to win this treasured prize. 
2. 'Children Of The Rainforest' By Charlie Hamilton James, UK, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image Finalist
wildlife competition
Photographer Charlie was working in the remote Machiguenga community of Yomibato, when he came across Yoina and her pet tamarin. Every day, she'd go for a swim taking her tamarin with her. Charlie said that the tamarin hated it and spent the whole time clambering onto her head to escape the water. Yoina's tribe have inhabited the protected rainforest of Yominato for generations and hunt animals (without guns) for food. The tribe considers themselves part of nature and take just what they need, ensuring both theirs and the forest's survival. 
3. 'Stuck In' By Ashleigh Scully, USA, 11–14 Years Old Winner
wildlife competition
Looking for red foxes in the deep snow of winter, Ashleigh spotted this female hunting from the back seat of a car and grabbed her camera, resting it on the window frame where she shot a series of the fox 'mousing', diving nose first into a drift. Hunting foxes step quietly across the surface of the snow then stop, tilting their head and listening intently. Suddenly they pounce, leaping high enough to punch through the deep snow. They may remain in this upside-down position for several seconds. These hunts are, more often than not, successful. 
4. 'Bear Hug' By Ashleigh Scully, USA, 11–14 Years Old Finalist
wildlife competition
Upon visiting Alaska, Ashleigh was intent on photographing brown bears as families, where she was able to capture the moment she had been waiting for - a mother leading two cubs across the beach. But one of them wanted to stay and play. Brown bears are usually solitary creatures, but there is a strong bond between mother and cubs. The young bears usually stay with their mother for two or three years, where they learn what to eat and how to look after themselves. In the summer, they head to the beach to feast on clams, salmon, and berries. 
 
5. 'Toad With Attitude' By Jaime Culebras, Spain, Animal Portraits Finalist
wildlife competition
It was easy for photographer Jaime to take this photo thanks to the bright moon, where he was able to notice a huge smooth-sided toad clambering and hopping along the river bank. Eventually, the toad paused to rest and Jaime was able to see its belly speckled with white spots like the stars in the sky.This photo was captured in the Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, with 150 different species of amphibians alone. 
6. 'Snow Spat' By Erlend Haarberg, Norway, Black And White Finalist
wildlife competition
As spring awakens in the forest of Vauldalen, tensions between mountain hares grow. When this photo was captured, two hares came to blows in front of Erlend's hide, squabbling over food he had left out to attract them. He converted the image to black and white to accentuate the drama of the moment. Mountain hares are predominantly timid creatures, cautious after a lifetime of being hunted by predators and for human sport. But in the spring they become more active, scrapping over food and females at night. 
7. 'Memorial To A Species' By Brent Stirton, South Africa, Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Grand Title Winner
wildlife competition
This photo was taken as part of an undercover investigation into the illegal trade in rhino horn. The winning image tells the story of the trade's latest victims. Pictured is a black rhino bull from South Africa's Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. It is believed that the poachers responsible came from a local community. They entered the reserve illegally and ambushed the rhino at a waterhole, shooting it dead before fleeing from its mutilated body. This photo illustrates the devastating impact of the demand for rhino horn. 
8. 'Sewage Surfer' By Justin Hofman, USA, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image Finalist
wildlife competition
When a seahorse bounced from one piece of natural debris to the next, Justin watched with delight. But as rubbish and sewage moved in, the creature seized upon this cotton bud as a stable anchor. His beautiful admiration for the creature soon turned to anger at the incoming tide of pollution and litter. Seahorses are normally poor swimmers. They tend to propel themselves forward using their wing-like dorsal fins, with their smaller fins used for steering. It's exhausting work for the seahorse, so they often cling to seagrass and corals with their prehensile tails. 
9. 'Saved By Compassion' By Adrian Steirn, Australia, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image Finalist
wildlife competition
Initially, the pangolin's minder was cautious about Adrian's presence. The creature was shy and it had taken the minder many moments of patience and round-the-clock care to gain its trust. Respecting this bond and the pangolin's rehabilitation, Adrian worked carefully to create this intimate and compelling portrait. Despite the global ban on their trade, pangolins continue to be the most trafficked mammal in the world, where they are sold for their meat and scales.
10. 'Handled With Care' By Robin Moore, UK, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image Finalist
wildlife competition
These wild Jamaican iguana hatchlings are just a few hours old and are some of the rarest lizards in the world. The photograph was part of a campaign to save these creatures, whose future had been jeopardized by government plans to build in their forest habitat. Initially, these lizards were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in 1990. 
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