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The Best Images From The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest Have Been Announced And Some Of Them Are Disturbing

Published 11 months ago

#11 “The Bigger Bite” By Chris Brunskill, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals

Perching in a small motor boat on a fast-flowing river, Chris steadied his long lens on this battle. The jaguar had come across the yacaré caiman by chance – accidentally stepping on the reptile after a failed charge at a capybara. Without hesitation the jaguar pounced, overcoming its monstrously large prey in minutes.

The yacaré caiman and jaguar are both top predators in the Pantanal Wetlands, and struggles like this are not unusual. Though excellent swimmers, jaguars tend to stalk or ambush their prey on the ground, subduing them with their formidable bite. After they have delivered their final blow, they will often drag carcasses to shelter to enjoy their meal in peace.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#12 “School Visit” By Adrian Bliss, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

Lying ruined and looted, the city of Pripyat is within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which was established after the nuclear disaster of 1986. Devoid of humans, the city has surrendered to nature. This red fox trotted into the derelict classroom, stopping briefly on the carpet of child-sized gas masks just long enough for a picture. Seeing it was ‘completely unexpected,’ says Adrian.

The long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster are still far from clear. But, in the absence of humans, Pripyat appears to be thriving. The forest encroaches on all sides of the city, encouraging wild boar, beavers, otters, deer and moose. With radiation levels still high, only time will tell if this natural regeneration is a sign of hope for this bleak place

Image source: Natural History Museum

#13 “Home On The Range” By Karine Aigner, Usa, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

Karine quietly watched this bobcat raise her kittens beneath the decking of a remote ranch house over several months. As they grew, Karine earned the bobcat’s trust, enough that the mother sometimes left her young with her while she went to hunt. ‘Animals can teach us so much,’ Karine says. ‘She taught me what trust was.’

Bobcats usually have one litter in spring with up to six kittens. The kittens stay with their mother before separating from her in winter. They eat mainly small mammals, especially rabbits and birds, and are often considered a nuisance. Despite being hunted for sport and trapped for their pelts, populations have remained resilient.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#14 “The Golden Couple” By Marsel Van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner

As the group of Qinling golden snub-nosed monkeys jumped from tree to tree, Marsel struggled to keep up, slipping and stumbling over logs. Gradually he learned to predict their behaviour, and captured this male and female resting. With the Sun filtering through the canopy, they are bathed in a magical light, their golden hair glowing against the fresh greens of the forest.

This pair belongs to a subspecies of golden snub-nosed monkey restricted to the Qinling Mountains. Among the most striking primates in the world, these monkeys are in danger of disappearing. Their numbers have steadily declined over the decades and there are now fewer than 4,000 individuals left.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#15 “Small World” By Carlos Perez Naval, Spain, Highly Commended 2018 11–14 Years Old

Growing on the low stone wall of a house, this pyrolusite mineral looked ‘like oriental drawings on rice paper,’ says Carlos. Some resembled trees, others mountains. Crouching to capture the scene, he waited half an hour for this ladybird to wander over. For Carlos, the image ‘shows the beauty of small and common places when you stop to look closely’.

Manganese dioxide, also known as pyrolusite, is a mineral commonly found when water percolates through the cracks of sedimentary rocks. A closer look reveals the minute fissures from which the pyrolusite mineral emanates, spreading out in a self-repeating pattern. The ladybird is a twenty-two spot, and unusually feeds on mildew rather than aphids.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#16 “Eye To Eye” By Emanuele Biggi, Italy, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment

As Emanuele walked along the beach, the stench of rotting sea lion carcasses was almost unbearable. He had seen insects feeding on the corpses, but knew when he saw the iguanas eating the insects that he’d found something interesting. Lying on the sand, choked by the vile smell, he caught this iguana peeping through an eye socket.

With a colony of 15,000 South American sea lions nearby, the beach of Paracas National Reserve is a graveyard for the ones that have succumbed to illness or injury. Others die in occasional mass events triggered by El Niño, where ocean temperatures rise temporarily. The iguanas survive here on the sand, where little vegetation grows, by feeding on insects instead.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#17 “Lounging Leopard” By Skye Meaker, South Africa, Young Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

Notoriously shy and elusive, the resident leopards of the Mashatu Game Reserve are hard to spot. But this time Skye was in luck. After tracking the leopards for a few hours, he came across Mathoja – a well-known female. In a fleeting moment, just before the leopard nodded off, Skye captured a peaceful portrait of this majestic creature.

Named by local guides, Mathoja means ‘the one that walks with a limp’ – a title given to her after a serious leg injury as a cub. Although her chances of survival were slim, Mathoja is now a healthy adult. She is one of the lucky ones – this species has been classed as vulnerable and many leopards are illegally hunted for their highly desirable skins.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#18 “Kitten Combat” By Julius Kramer, Germany, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals

It had been a year since Julius had set up his camera trap and he only had two records of a Eurasian lynx to show for it. Overcoming problems with failed batteries, deep snow and spider webs he was on the brink of giving up when his luck changed. As soft light hit the snow-clad branches, two kittens turned up to play, rewarding Julius with nearly 100 images.

After several illegal lynx kills in Bavaria, catching sight of these shy, elusive and desperately endangered animals is a sign of hope that the population is hanging on. The Eurasian lynx has been, and continues to be, intensively hunted for its fur and perceived as a threat to livestock. Many of the current populations are the result of re-introductions.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#19 “One In A Million” By Morgan Heim, Usa, Highly Commended 2018 Wildlife Photojournalism

Morgan found this black-tailed doe, its eyes not yet dulled by death, by a road. Returning at dusk, she brought flowers to arrange a funeral wreath around the deer as a roadside memorial. ‘I wanted it to have one last moment of grace in this world,’ she says. ‘To tell it “I see you and you were loved”.’

With an increasing number of cars on the road, roadkill is a common sight in America and it is estimated drivers kill more than a million vertebrates every day. Solutions such as wildlife overpasses, tunnels and reduced speed zones have decreased animal fatalities, but it is still a pressing issue.

Image source: Natural History Museum

#20 “Reflective Sunset” By Sri Ram Mohan Akshay Valluru, India, Highly Commended 2018 15–17 Years Old

Surveying the scene, Akshay decided to use the in-camera multiple-exposure mode. He captured two frames – the first of the dramatic dusk sky, and the second of the silhouetted impala. The camera seamlessly merged them, and the result is this creative illusion of a pool of water, leaving the viewer wondering why the sky is reflected in the water but the impala isn’t.

Impalas are one of the most common antelopes in Africa. Young males, like this one, often wander the savannah, usually after being evicted from mixed mating herds by dominant males. They will herd together until they are strong enough to establish a territory of their own, complete with their own group of females.

Image source: Natural History Museum

Aušrys Uptas

One day this guy just kind of figured "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending around the web. Something that always peeks his interests is old technology, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness so if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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best nature photography, best wildlife photography, best wildlife photos, Natural History Museum, nature photography, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, wildlife photography
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