London's Natural History Museum conducts the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards every year, and it is one of the most prestigious wildlife photo contests out there today. Started by the BBC's Animals magazine, the awards have a long history and go back to the year 1965. The competition's aim has always been to focus on species, behaviors, and natural events not many have the opportunity to witness directly.
This year, more than 49,000 entries were registered for the awards and the winners were declared by the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton, to her friends) at a live-streamed event from London's Natural History Museum. This year's overall winner was the Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov who, after waiting for 11 months after setting a camera trap, finally captured a huge Amur (Siberian) tiger scent-marking a fir tree with what appears to be a joyful hug.
Here, we have presented some of the winners from the esteemed photography contest. These breathtaking wildlife photographs truly capture the poignancy of nature beautifully.
1. “The embrace” by Sergey Gorshkov (Russia). Winner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year & Winner, Animals in their Environment.
A Siberian tiger hugs an ancient Manchurian fir in the Land of the Leopard National Park, in the Russian Far East, rubbing her cheek against bark to leave secretions from her scent glands.
2. “Life in the Balance” by Jaime Culebras (Spain). Winner, Behavior: Amphibians, and Reptiles.
A Manduriacu glass frog snacks on a spider in the foothills of the Andes, northwestern Ecuador.
3. “The fox that got the goose” by Liina Heikkinen (Finland). Winner, 15-17 years old, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
A vixen munching on a barnacle goose she had just caught on the island of Lehtisaari in Finland.
4. “The pose” by Mogens Trolle (Denmark). Winner, Animal Portraits.
A young male proboscis monkey immersed in a few seconds of silence.
5. “When mother says run” by Shanyuan Li (China). Winner, Behavior: Mammals.
A family of Pallas’s cats, or manuls, on the remote steppes of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau in northwest China.
6. “Backroom business” by Paul Hilton (UK/Australia). Winner, Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award, raising awareness of illegal trade in exotic animals.
A young pig-tailed macaque that has been put on show while being chained to a wooden cage in Bali’s bird market, Indonesia. This photo and others like it are important to reach awareness about this terrible, disgusting trade.
7. “A tale of two wasps” by Frank Deschandol, (France). Winner, Behavior: Invertebrates.
A red-banded sand wasp (left) and a cuckoo wasp (right), about to enter next-door nest holes at the same time.
8. “The golden moment” by Songda Cai (China). Winner, Under Water.
A tiny diamondback squid paralarva gliding in the water captured by the photographer on a night‑dive over deep water, far off the coast of Anilao, in the Philippines.
9. “Etna's river of fire” by Luciano Gaudenzio (Italy). Winner, Earth's Environments.
Lava flows within a huge lava tunnel from a great gash on the southern flank of Mount Etna in Italy and re-emerges further down the slope.
10. “Eleonora's gift” by Alberto Fantoni (Italy). Winner, Rising Star Portfolio.
A male Eleonora’s falcon brings his mate food on the steep cliffs of a Sardinian island in Italy.
11. “Great crested sunrise” by Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez (Spain). Winner, Behavior: Birds.
A great crested grebe family shares a poignant moment in a lagoon near Brozas, in the west of Spain.
12. “The last bite” by Ripan Biswas (India). Winner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award.
The giant riverine tiger beetle and a weaver ant engaged in a fascinating battle on a dry river bed in Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal, India.
13. “Out of the blue” by Gabriel Eisenband, (Colombia). Winner, Plants, and Fungi.
White arnica flowers, a member of the daisy family found only in Colombia, glowing brightly in the highest peak in the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes.
14. "Watching you watching them” by Alex Badyaev, (Russia/USA). Winner, Urban Wildlife.
This Cordilleran flycatcher has made a nest in his remote research cabin in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front.
15. “Show Business” by Kirsten Luce (USA). Winner, Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image.
A polar bear grapples with its trainer in the traveling Russian circus in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.
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