Location: Atka Bay, Antarctica.
Stefan Christmann/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
London’s Natural History Museum hosts an annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.Photos show monkeys, lions, turtles, and bears, and other animals in the wild.The People’s Choice Award winner shows a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg.
An annual contest highlighting the best in wildlife photography shared its winning photos on Wednesday.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
A panel of judges shortlisted 25 images out of 50,000 submissions. Members of the public then voted for the top five photos, with the top-voted image receiving the People’s Choice Award.
The winning photos will be displayed at the Natural History Museum through June 30, 2024.
Here are the best images from this year’s contest, including the top five fan favorites.
Deena Sveinsson/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A snowshoe hare pulls its feet to its head to make the next big hop across the soft, deep snow in the forests of the Rocky Mountain National Park, USA,” the Natural History Museum’s caption reads.
Andy Parkinson/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Two courting mountain hares come together to touch noses in the Monadhliath Mountains in Scotland, UK,” the museum captioned the photo.
Axel Gomille/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“The summer greens and blues provide the perfect backdrop for the chestnut tones of the Ethiopian wolf’s coat in this serene image,” the Natural History Museum wrote. “The rarest species of wild dog in the world, there are only a few hundred left, surviving in the low-growing, Afro-alpine shrubland of the highlands of Ethiopia.”
John E. Marriott/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A grizzly bear rises up on its hind legs and glances towards the photographer before returning to fish for salmon in the Chilko River in British Columbia, Canada,” the museum wrote.
Karim Iliya/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A humpback whale calf misses some of its mother’s milk, which drifts and swirls in the currents off the coast of Rurutu, French Polynesia,” the Natural History Museum’s caption reads.
Ofer Levy/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The Natural History Museum’s caption reads: “A mudskipper fiercely defends its territory from a trespassing crab in Roebuck Bay, Australia.”
Dvir Barkay/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A pygmy round-eared bat returns to its termite-nest home as two well-camouflaged family members look out from the entrance in the lowland forests of Costa Rica,” the museum wrote.
Marco Gaiotti/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Taken during the August rainy season, with looming clouds threatening a downpour, a gelada mother suckles her baby alongside a female companion,” the Natural History Museum captioned Gaiotti’s photo. “The gelada family unit, known as a harem, usually consists of one male and a small number of related females and their young.”
Hermann Hirsch and Jan Lessman/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Hermann and Jan had chosen to take photographs at an old farm, knowing barn swallows were nesting there,” the museum wrote of Hirsch and Lessman’s image. “As their name suggests, barn swallows prefer to nest inside buildings and usually return to the same spot each year, repairing nesting cups sculpted from mud and clay.
“Positioning their camera among the cornflowers, Hermann and Jan watched as the swallows continuously flew low over the meadow, catching insects on the wing. Using a remote control, they took this beautiful picture as one of the swallows flew over the camera.”
Stefan Christmann/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“An Adélie penguin approaches an emperor penguin and its chick during feeding time in Antarctica’s Atka Bay,” the museum wrote.
Ayala Fishaimer/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Standing on a rock in the Judean Foothills of Israel, a red fox cub locks eyes with the shrew it had thrown up in the air moments earlier,” the museum’s caption reads.
Matt Maran/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A young red fox takes advantage of a bin stacked high with rubbish before collection day on a street in London, UK,” the Natural History Museum wrote.
Uge Fuertes Sanz/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A painting-like composition of bulrushes and quaking aspens is framed in a small corner of the Cabriel River in the Sierra de Albarracín Mountains, Spain,” the Natural History Museum wrote of the photo.
Frank Deschandol/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Near Montpellier, France, a cuckoo wasp is captured mid-air trying to enter a mason bee’s clay burrow as a smaller cuckoo wasp cleans its wings below,” the museum captioned the photo.
Charles Davis/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A wood duck and its brood are caught in a late spring snowstorm in Smiggin Holes, New South Wales, Australia,” the Natural History Museum wrote.
Gerald Hinde/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A wood duck and its brood are caught in a late spring snowstorm in Smiggin Holes, New South Wales, Australia,” the photo caption reads.
Brent Stirton/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A bull elephant kicks over garbage as it scavenges for rotten vegetables and fruit at a dump in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka,” the museum wrote.
Claire Waring/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A Celebes crested macaque investigates the contents of a plastic bottle from a pile ready for recycling on a beach at the edge of Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve, Indonesia,” the Natural History Museum wrote.
Roberto García-Roa/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A rescued chimpanzee looks on from its enclosure at the Chimpanzee Conservation Center in the Republic of Guinea,” the museum captioned García-Roa’s image.
Britta Jaschinski/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A rack of coats made from the skins of some of the most endangered big cats on Earth, including snow leopard, jaguar and ocelot, is displayed,” the caption reads. “Confiscated by customs officers across Europe, the coats were held in Hamburg’s Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change for forensic tests before being used at educational events to ensure they never return to the black market.”
Audun Rikardsen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Moon jellyfish swarm in the cool autumnal waters of a fjord outside Tromsø in northern Norway illuminated by the aurora borealis,” the Natural History Museum captioned the winning photo.
Tzahi Finkelstein/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A Balkan pond turtle shares a moment of peaceful coexistence with a northern banded groundling dragonfly in Israel’s Jezreel Valley,” the Natural History museum captioned Finkelstein’s image.
“The dragonfly unexpectedly landed on the turtle’s nose, but instead of snapping up the insect, the turtle appeared to be experiencing pleasure from the interaction as they shared a moment of peaceful coexistence in the midst of the swamp’s murky waters.”
Daniel Dencescu/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Daniel was mesmerized by the movements of the starlings as they formed colossal organic shapes in the sky,” the museum’s caption reads. “Each day, as they returned from foraging, they would gather in large numbers and perform spellbinding aerial shows, known as murmurations, on their flight home to their communal roosts.
“In a bid to locate the best roosting sites at which to capture the spectacle, Daniel spent hours following the starlings around the city and suburbs of Rome. Finally, on this cloudless winter’s day, the flock didn’t disappoint, swirling into the shape of a giant bird.”
Mark Boyd/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“Early in the morning, Mark watched as these lionesses groomed one of their five cubs in their territory in Kenya’s Maasai Mara,” the museum captioned the photo.
“Females raise each other’s cubs as their own, sharing parenting duties. Here the youngster was clearly enjoying the moment of affection and attention,” it added.
Nima Sarikhani/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
“A polar bear carves out a bed from a small iceberg before drifting off to sleep in the far north, off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago,” the Natural History Museum wrote of Sarikhani’s award-winning image.
“Having spent three days desperately searching for polar bears through thick fog in the far north off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, the expedition vessel Nima was on decided to change course. It turned and headed to the southeast, where there was still some sea ice.
“Here, they encountered a younger and an older male and watched the pair over the following eight hours. Just before midnight, the young male clambered onto a small iceberg and, using his strong paws, clawed away at it to carve out a bed for himself before drifting off to sleep.”