Londons Natural History Museum( NHM) has, after much deliberation, only announced the recipients of its 52 ndWildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. As has been made clear by the nearly 50,000 entries from 95 countries, there are some extremely talented photographers out there, and nature has never seemed so good.
One hundred images stimulated it through to the final round, but there can only be a handful of winners, and here is a selection of them in all their technicolor glory.
The winning images touch our hearts, and challenge us to believe differently about the natural world, Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the NHM, said in a statement.
The exhibition opens on October 21, but if you cant make it to London, fret not the images will make their way across six different continents, so you may be able to catch them as they circumnavigate the globe.
Think you have taken an award-winning image? From October 24, you can send in your entry to next years competition here.
1 Entwined Lives ( Overall Winner)
A critically endangered Bornean orangutan holds on to a thick root of a strangler fig that has wrap itself around a tree 30 meters( approximately 100 feet) above the ground. This particular beast was spotted in the rainforest of the Gunung Palung National Park, one of the few protected orangutan strongholds in Indonesia.
This precarious primate was captured on camera by a remotely-triggered GoPro, which was put in place by the photographer during his own perilous climb. Ripe with symbolism and technical panache, its clear to watch why this photographer was crowned the overall winner of the competition.
Credit: Tim Laman, from USA/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
2 The Moon and the Crow ( Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winner)
A crow takes on a supernatural air against a lunar backdrop. Shot near his London home in Valentines Park, the nocturnal scene was described by the 16 -year-old photographer as like something out of a fairytale.
Lewis Blackwell, chair of the jury, was of the view that if an image could create a lyric, it would be like this.
Credit: Gideon Knight, from UK/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
3 Eviction Attempt ( Winner, Birds)
A Bengal monitor lizard attempts to squat inside the nest of a few rose-ringed parakeets in Indias Keoladeo National Park, and its safe to say that the occupants were not best pleased. After biting on the lizards tail and dangle on for a few moments each time, the sneaky critter retreated. It wasnt quick to give up altogether, though the battle for supremacy repeated itself multiple times at lightning speeds over the next two days.
Credit: Ganesh Shankar, from India/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
4 Wind Composition ( Winner, Plants and Fungi)
This gloriously detailed close-up of a hazel trees blooms showcases the incredible details of both the male and female flowers, the latter of which is a small bud-like structure with a red-tufted stigma. Each catkin, as these long structures are called, release vast amounts of pollen early in the year to be carried away by the wind, but new research indicate bees play an important role in pollen transfer too.
Credit: Valter Binotto, from India/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
5 The Alley Cat ( Winner, Urban)
A leopard slips mutely by in the alleyways of a suburb of Mumbai. Despite a few occasional assaults on humans, these cats are widely accepted as part of day-to-day life here, as they stalk the street in search of food largely stray dogs.
Credit: Nayan Khanolkar, from India/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
6 Requiem for an Owl ( Winner, Black and White)
This photographers forest in Bashult, Southern Sweden was found to contain an adorable pairing of Eurasian pygmy owls, each of which was barely 19 centimeters( 7.5 inches) tall. One night, he noticed that one was lying dead on the ground, with its companion looking on forlorn, lighted by the first light of dawn.
Shortly after this photograph was taken, the surviving owl was killed too, likely by another larger bird not wishing to share its territory with others.
Credit: Mats Andersson, from Sweden/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
7 Snapper Party ( Winner, Underwater)
Thousands of two-spot red snappers gather to spawn all over the Western Pacific isle of Palau for several days each month, in tandem with each full Moon. The maelstrom of mating is fast and furious, with predators also joining the fray and hoping to capture a tasty meal.
On one exceedingly lucky occasion, after many failed attempts, the photographer captured a dynamic arc of spawning fish amid clouds of eggs under the sinewy morning light.
Credit: Tony Wu, from USA/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
8 The Sand Canvas ( Winner, Details)
The white sand of Brazils Lenis Maranhenses National Parkacts like a blank canvas to the incoming rain, which sculpts out the most vibrant and ephemeral lagoons painted by colorful bacteria. Planning two years in advance for the perfect moment to shoot, this photographer flew over the incredible scene and, leaning outside, shot immediately downwards.
Credit: Rudi Sebastian, from Germany/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
9 Star Player ( Winner, Impressions)
Curious young Californian sea lions come over to say “hi” in the waters off the island of Espritu Santo. One of the puppies grabbed a starfish and started utilizing it as a frisbee, passing it back and forth, honing its hunting techniques.
Credit: Luis Sandoval, from Mexico/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year
10 The Pangolin Pit ( Winner, Single Image Photojournalist Award)
The frightening scene of 4, 000 defrosting pangolins the worlds most trafficked mammal shocked this particular photojournalist. These Sunda pangolins were on their route to China and Vietnam in order to be harvested for use in traditional medication when a joint operation between the World Conservation Society and the Indonesian authorities seized them.
Found in a shipping receptacle behind a layer of frozen fish, 96 live pangolins were also recovered, all of which were released back into their rainforest home. Pangolins were recently awarded the most advanced level of protection by 182 nations, but as the photographer himself said, Wildlife crime is big business that will stop only when the demand stops.
Credit: Paul Hilton, from UK& Australia/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year