The winners of the 57 th edition of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have been announced. The jury looked at over 50,000 images, but only 100 were chosen as finalists. Bored Panda has already shared the fantastic winner shots, which you can see here, so this time we want to encourage you to be the judge and choose the most stunning photograph in your opinion!
The Natural History Museum, as it does every year, selects an additional 25 photographs from which the public votes on the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Take a look at the incredible photos below and vote for your favourites! Here is where you can vote for the best image. The winner and 4 runners-up will be announced on February 9, 2022, after voting closes on February 2 – 2022.
Shelter From The Rain By Ashleigh Mccord
“Ashleigh captured this tender moment between two male lions during a visit to Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The rain was only a light sprinkle at first, and she was only photographing one of the lions. However, the second had approached and greeted his companion before choosing to walk away. However, as the rain became a torrential downpour, the second male returned and sat, his body positioned to shelter the other. They rubbed their faces and sat nuzzling for some time after that. Ashleigh kept an eye on them until the rain was so heavy that they couldn’t be seen.”
Marco Gaiotti’s Breath Of An Arctic Fox
“Marco was keeping an eye on this small Arctic fox as it called out to another nearby. After each call, he gradually noticed the fox’s wet breath quickly freezing in the air. The temperature in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, was -35°C (-31°F) in late winter. Photographing arctic foxes can be difficult because they are usually running around looking for food. Still, this one was very relaxed and allowed Marco to get close enough to focus on it, with the light shining beautifully in the background.”
Dancing In The Snow By Qiang Guo
Qiang watched as two male golden pheasants swapped places on this trunk in the Lishan Nature Reserve in Shanxi Province, China – their movements akin to a silent dance in the snow. The birds are native to China’s mountainous regions, where they live in dense forests. They are shy & difficult to spot, spending most of their time foraging for food on the dark forest floor and only flying at night to evade predators or roost in very high trees.
Bonds Of Love By Peter Delaney
“A herd of elephants closed ranks around Peter, pushing their young into the centre of the herd for protection. An elephant bull was attempting to separate a newborn calf from its mother. Peter was photographing the herd in South Africa’s Addo Elephant Reserve when the baby elephant let out a shriek. The herd reacted quickly, blowing loud calls, flapping their ears, and surrounding the young, reaching their trunks for comfort. Elephants form lifelong bonds and can express emotions ranging from love to anger. ‘There is something magical and beautiful about watching elephants – it touches your soul and tugs at your heartstrings,’ Peter says.”
Jo-Anne Mcarthur’s Hope In A Burned Plantation
“In early 2020, Jo-Anne flew to Australia to document the stories of animals who had been affected by the devastating bushfires that had swept through New South Wales and Victoria. She was given access to burn-sites, rescues, & veterinary missions while working closely with Animals Australia (an animal protection organization). The lucky ones included this eastern grey kangaroo and her joey, photographed near Mallacoota, Victoria. The kangaroo didn’t take her gaze away from Jo-Anne as she walked calmly to a good photo location. Before the kangaroo hopped-away into the burned eucalyptus plantation, she had just enough time to crouch down and press the shutter release.”
Lynx Cub Licking By Antonio Liebana Navarro
“Due to habitat loss, decreasing food-sources, car collisions, and illegal hunting, the Iberian lynx, is one of the world’s most endangered cats. Thanks to conservation-efforts, the species is recovering and can now be found in small areas of Portugal and Spain. Antonio took this photo in Pealajo, Castilla La Mancha, Spain, while leading a photography conservation project. He knew a lynx family frequented this waterhole, so he set up a hide nearby. He was lucky enough to capture-the-moment the cub-lifted its head from the water, licked its lips, and stared straight into the camera while focusing on it.”
Jeroen Hoekendijk’s The Eagle And The Bear
“Black bear cubs are known for climbing trees to wait for their mother to return with food. This little-cub decided to take an afternoon nap on a moss covered branch in the temperate rainforest of Anan, Alaska, under the watchful eye of a juvenile bald eagle. Jeroen thought the situation was extraordinary because the eagle had been sitting in this pine tree for hours. He quickly set out to photograph the scene from eye level. With some difficulty and a lot-of-luck, he was able to position himself a little higher on the hill and capture this image while the bear slept soundly.”
Monkey Cuddle By Zhang Qiang
“Zhang was in China’s Qinling Mountains to study the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey’s behaviour. The endangered monkeys’ only habitat is the temperate forests of the mountains, which are threatened by forest disturbance. Zhang is fascinated by the family group’s dynamics, particularly how close and friendly they are to one another. Females & young huddle together for warmth and protection when it’s time to rest. This photograph perfectly captures that intimate moment. The young monkey’s distinct blue face was nestled between two females, whose striking golden-orange fur was dappled in light.”
Peek A Boo By Michiel Van Noppen
“Michiel took this photo of Danita, as she is affectionately known, near San José in central Costa Rica, in the foothills of Braulio Carrillo National Park. The Baird’s tapir, also known as the ‘gardeners of the forest,’ is vital to their natural habitat, as some seeds only germinate after passing through the tapir. However, due to deforestation and hunting, only 6,000 individuals are thought to remain in the wild. Proyecto Tapir Nicaragua and Nai Conservation are two conservation organizations that have been established to work closely with local-communities to promote the importance of preserving the land and protecting an endangered species.”
Thomas Peschak’s Meercats Strike a Pose
“This group of meerkats in South Africa’s Tswalu-Kalahari Reserve has been socialized with humans for over a decade and is very comfortable around them. They were so preoccupied with lounging, hunting, grooming, and fighting that they mostly ignored Thomas’s presence. As a result, he could get close to them and use a wide-angle lens to capture the arid savannah and mountains where they live. To photograph the meercats’ features, he used techniques similar to those used for people in a portrait session, as well as studio lights.”
Jaguar Of Ashes By Ernane Junior
“Fires in Brazil’s Pantanal-wetlands more than doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year, making it “a year never to be forgotten,” according to Ernane. More than 26 percent of the total-area was burned, and the situation in Encontros das Guas State Park was even worse, with nearly 80% of the park burned. Ernane was documenting the fires in the park when this jaguar and his brother crossed the Rio Três Irmos (Three Brothers River) nearby. The jaguar rolled in the ash left by the desolation of days before, leaving only his face exposed, his now black body mirroring his charred surroundings after reaching the opposite bank.”
Stay Close By Maxime Aliaga
“It takes a lot of energy to take care of a young orangutan,” says the trainer. During his time in the Pinus Jantho Nature Reserve in Sumatra, Indonesia, Maxime spent more than an hour observing this mother, who was struggling to keep her excitable baby with her in the nest. Since 2011, the Sumatran-Orangutan Conservation Program has released more than 120 confiscated apes into the reserve, with the goal of establishing new-wild populations to act as a safety net against the species’ continued decline.
Barracudas By Yung Sen Wu
“While diving in the turquoise seascape of Blue Corner, Palau, in the western Pacific, Yung was drawn to the schooling barracudas. He’d been swimming with them for four days, but their formation was constantly shifting, and he couldn’t find the ideal angle. His luck changed on the fifth day, when the fish seemed to accept him into the group. He began to imagine how one fish sees another while swimming while surrounded by barracudas, and this was the image he desired. He had to swim-hard to keep his place in the school because the fish were fast. He finally got his perfect ‘fish eye’ view after an exhausting 50 minutes.”
The Ice Bear Cometh… By Andy Skillen
“This spot on the Fishing-Branch River in Yukon, Canada, is a two-hour helicopter ride from the nearest town – a location where the river never freezes, no matter how cold it gets. The salmon run occurs in late-autumn here, and for the area’s grizzly bears, this open water provides one last chance to eat before hibernating. Andy had been waiting and hoping that one-particular female-bear would use this log to cross the stream, as the temperature hovered around -30°C (-22°F). She eventually did, and he got the image he wanted: her wet fishing fur had frozen-into icicles, & ‘you could hear them tinkle as she walked-past.'”
Lucas Bustamante’s “Life in Black and White” is a black and white photograph.
“Hundreds of plains zebra had gathered to drink at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia – a popular spot for the area’s animals to quench their thirst due to the scorching heat. The zebras, packed closely together and moving as one, lowered their heads to get water and then robotically raised them to scan for danger. This went on for five minutes, and Lucas thought their stripes looked like a living barcode. His goal was to capture only one with its head up, and he got the image he thinks best showcases these iconic black-&-white striped animals just before the herd left.”
Lake Of Ice By Cristiano Vendramin
“The Santa Croce Lake is a natural lake in the Belluno province of Italy. Cristiano noticed that the water level was unusually high in the winter of 2019 and that the willow-plants were partially submerged, creating a play of light and reflections. He captured the scene in icy stillness while waiting for colder weather. He was reminded of a dear-friend who had-loved this place and was no longer here after taking the photograph.” “I’d like to believe he gave me this unforgettable sensation. As a result, he is the subject of this photograph.”
All Together By Ly Dang
“The Clark’s grebes on Ly’s local-lake in San-Diego, California, hadn’t nested in a few years, and he wasn’t sure if it was-because of the unusually hot and dry weather. Then, in 2017, California received twice as much rain as it usually does in a year. The grebes began to build nests and lay eggs once the lakes were full. They build floating nests among the reeds or rushes at the edge of shallow water. Soon after hatching, the chicks hitch a ride on a parent’s back. This photo was taken just a few days after a storm washed away nearly all of the grebes’ nests. Ly had been out on a boat-for-hours, scanning the surface for grebes, when he spotted them, the survivors, just as the light was fading.”
Wim Van Den Heever’s article “Hitching a Ride”
“In the Pantanal, Brazil, a female giant anteater was foraging around a large open plain late one afternoon when Wim noticed she had a youngster on her back. He instinctively grabbed his camera and crept up to a distant termite mound, which was heading in the same direction she was. He sat quietly and waited for her to come over. However, the light was fading quickly, and he began to wonder if he’d be able to capture-the-scene before it was too late. Wim was rewarded for his patience after waiting a long time – anteaters move slowly – and holding some very heavy camera equipment.”
Blackbird Backyard By Jan Leßmann
“In his hometown of Greifswald, Germany, Jan took great pleasure in watching this blackbird from his front door. It was spring, and the blackbird had decided to build her nest in an old garden hut. She raised her children in this garden idyll quietly and secretly. Jan wanted to show that we don’t always have to travel far to enjoy nature’s beauty – sometimes-something as simple as a blackbird making her home in a dilapidated hut is enough.”
It is in her hands, says Joan De La Malla, to shape the future.
“The rainforests of Borneo are rapidly disappearing due to overexploitation – industrial logging and land clearing for plantation development. As a result, endemic-species such as the orangutan are suffering and dying as a result of habitat loss, and are in grave danger. The laudable work of International Animal Rescue is to rehabilitate orphaned or injured orangutans. They provide them with the medical attention they require and, if possible, prepare them for reintroduction. A keeper looks after the babies in this forest enclosure, where they are encouraged to interact with others their age, build nests, and forage for food.”
The Jump By Karl Samitsch
“Karl was in Scotland’s Cairngorms with a friend who took him to a forest where red squirrels were regularly fed. They hung hazelnuts from two trees’ opposite branches, and Karl set up his camera on a tri-pod between the branches, facing the direction a squirrel might jump. He waited behind a tree in camouflage gear, holding a remote control, with his camera set to automatic focus. Two squirrels appeared after less than an hour. He used the high-speed-burst mode on his camera as they leapt between the branches, and out of 150 frames, only four were sharp, and this one perfectly captured the moment.”
Javier Aznar González De Rueda’s “Building an Egg Case” is an example of his work.
“Javier spotted this little female thorned heart orb-weaver spider delicately constructing her egg-case while out on a night walk in the Amazon-rainforest near Tena, Ecuador. These female-spiders spend hours encasing their eggs in a silken-cocoon, which can contain hundreds of eggs, while suspended from a strong silk thread. The egg-case resembled a pearly white full moon on this dark night.”
Dolphin Hug By Jaime Rojo
“Jaime stood there and watched as Federico Mosquera, a biologist from Colombia’s Omacha Foundation, calmed an Amazon river dolphin. These dolphins are very tactile animals, and direct contact calms them down; keeping them hydrated when they’re not in the water is also crucial. Omacha & WWF were transporting the dolphin to a temporary veterinarian facility in Puerto-Nario, Colombia, where a GPS tag was being installed in its dorsal fin. The research is part of a larger-effort to learn more about river dolphin health and migration patterns. The goal was to tag five dolphins, but because of the high water, the dolphins had a wider range of movement than usual, and the crew struggled, only tagging one during the expedition.”
Living Together By Dhritiman Mukherjee
“Bhutan is a fantastic place for Dhritiman. He admires how most people try to live in harmony with nature. Satyr tragopans are a rare Asian pheasant that is widely hunted for food and plumage. They are normally shy and skittish. The birds, on the other hand, appear at ease and perfectly relaxed in the presence of the people who live in this village near Punakha. Dhritiman had been attempting to photograph the satyr tragopan in India since 2008, but the birds would always flee the moment they noticed him. He knew he had to see for himself after hearing about communities in Bhutan coexisting peacefully with the species.”
Working Together By Minghui Yuan
“Green tree ants were seen on the trunks of several large-trees near Minghui’s hotel in the Xishuangbanna-Tropical Botanical Garden in Yunnan Province, China, and he was fascinated by their behavior. This ant builds its nest in the tree crown and is known for being ferocious and adept at catching a variety of insects. Minghui noticed a swarm of ants working in perfect unison to restrain a green katydid one morning. These remarkable ants have been observed ‘farming’ certain types of insects, including leafhoppers, rather than killing them. The ants protect the leafhoppers from predators & parasites so that they can feed on the sweet sap excreted by the leafhoppers.”