The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is always a source of stunning images of the natural world, and this year’s entries are no exception.
The 56th year of the competition gives us a fascinating insight into the lives of animals around the world that we’d otherwise never get to see.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. The annual exhibition will open to the public on 16 October 2020.
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Highly Commended 2020, 11-14 Years Old: Arshdeep Singh, India
© Arshdeep Singh
This douc langur was snapped near Son Tra Nature Reserve, Vietnam’s last coastal rainforest. Found only in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, the primate is threatened by habitat loss, hunting and trade.
Eye of the drought
Highly Commended 2020, Animal Portraits: Jose Fragozo, Portugal
© Jose Fragoso
Hippos spend the day submerged in mud to keep their temperature constant and their sensitive skin out of the sun, and at night they emerge to graze on the floodplains. This one is in a remnant of the drought-stricken Mara River.
The spider’s supper
Highly Commended 2020, Behaviour: Invertebrates: Jaime Culebras, Spain
© Jaime Culebras
A wandering spider chows down on the eggs of a giant glass frog in a stream in Manduriacu Reserve, north western Ecuador.
Highly Commended 2020, 11-14 Years Old: Evie Easterbook, UK
© Evie Easterbrook
Every spring, the Farne Islands off Northumberland attract more than 100,000 breeding pairs of seabirds. Here, a pair of Atlantic puffins sit nestled in their burrow.
Highly Commended 2020, Behaviour: Mammals: Makoto Ando, Japan
© Makoto Ando
A pair of Ural owls catch a red squirrel by surprise in Hokkaido, Japan. Red squirrels are often prey to Ural owls, but this one made its escape.
Highly Commended 2020, Behviour: Birds: Alessandra Meniconzi, Switzerland
© Alessandra Meniconzi
These yellow-billed choughs loved the wind atop the Alpstein Massif of the Swiss Alps. These gregarious mountain birds nest in rocky ravines and on cliff faces, staying with their partners throughout the year.
Highly Commended 2020, Urban Wildlife: Gary Meredith, Australia
© Gary Meredith
A common brushtail possum (left) and her joey peeking out from under a roof in Yallingup, Western Australia. These small, adaptable marsupials naturally occur in Australia’s forests and woodlands, taking shelter in tree hollows, but in more urban areas, they may use roof spaces.
The night shift
Highly Commended 2020, Under Water: Laurent Ballesta, France
© Laurent Ballesta
Topshells, a type of mollusc reaching up to 15cm across their base, spend the day hiding in crevices among corals, usually on the outer fringes of the reef, withstanding the strong currents and surf. At night, they emerge to graze on algal pavements and coral rubble.
The rat game
Highly Commended 2020, Behaviour: Mammals: Matthew Maran, UK
© Matthew Maran
With a determined stare, a young fox holds tight to her trophy – a dead brown rat – as her brother attempts to take it off her. With their long, narrow jaws and thin canines, foxes are designed to hunt small rodents in a ‘pounce and hold’ way.
The perfect catch
Highly Commended 2020, 15-17 Years Old: Hannah Vijayan, Canada
© Hannah Vijayan
A brown bear pulls a salmon from the shallows of a river in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The huge park contains Pacific coastline, mountains, lakes, rivers and an estimated 2,200 brown bears.
Highly Commended 2020, Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles: Dhritiman Mukherjee, India
© Dhiritiman Mukherjee
Male gharials, like this one photographed in National Chambal Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, mate with several females who all nest close together to produce a huge brood of hatchlings.
The forest born of fire
Highly Commended 2020, Plants and Fungi: Andrea Pozzi, Italy
© Andrea Pozzi
The Araucanía region of Chile is named after its Araucaria trees – here standing tall against a backdrop of late-autumn southern beech forest. Native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina, this Araucaria species was introduced to Europe in the late 18th Century, where it was grown as a curiosity.
A risky business
Highly Commended 2020, Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image: Quentin Martinez, France
© Quentin Martinez
A market trader slices up fruit bats in Tomohon Market in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Since the arrival of COVID-19, which is suspected to have originated in a similar market in China, there have been calls to ban the sale and butchery of live wild animals.
Highly Commended 2020, Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image: Charlie Hamilton James, UK
© Charlie Hamilton James
A fire burns out of control in Maranhão state, northeastern Brazil. In 2015, more than half the state’s primary forest was destroyed by fires started by illegal logging on indigenous land.
Memorial to the albatrosses
Highly Commended 2020, Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image: Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa
© Thomas P Peschak
Unlikely as it seems, this display illustrates a South African conservation success story. It represents the comparatively smaller number of deaths of seabirds – here shy albatrosses and a yellow-nosed albatross (a longline hook still in its bill) and white‑chinned petrels – caught in 2017 on longlines set by Japanese tuna-fishing boats off South Africa’s coast.
World of tar
Highly Commended 2020, Wildlife Photojournalism: Single Image: Garth Lenz, Canada
© Garth Lenz
As twilight falls on the Alberta tar sands, the stripped landscape takes on an oily blue tint. This vast expanse – once boreal forest – is just one section of the Mildred Lake Tar Mine, itself just one of the region’s many tar mines that together form the world’s third largest oil reserve.
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