Is there anything cuter than animals in love? Apart from kittens playing with balls of wool perhaps.
The WildArt Photographer of the Year is a new wildlife photography competition that features 10 themed category contests which are announced each month. This month’s theme was ‘connection’, and the winners have just been unveiled.
There are still many rounds to come over the following months, and once each round has been decided, an overall winner will be awarded at the end of the year.
We bring you our pick of the best from the connected category from the winners and highly commended images.
Lessons for life: Gold Winner
A female Patagonia Puma (Puma concolor) is looking for prey from a high vantage point while her playful cubs are learning through imitation. The photographer spent a week tracking this Puma family, comprising a mother and four cubs, in Patagonia, Chile.
The Puma of Patagonia, once almost hunted to extinction, has made a phenomenal comeback in the last few decades thanks to safeguarding measures. Photo by Amit Eshel
Allopreen Gannets: Highly commended
A pair of Australasian gannets (Morus serrator) are shown allopreening (grooming each other) as the moon sinks behind them very early one morning, in a gannet colony north of Auckland. Photo by Simon Runting, New Zealand.
Baby garden spider cluster: Highly commended
Newly hatched garden spiders of unknown species cluster together after hatching. Photo by Andrew McLachlan, Canada.
Nose to nose: Bronze winner
A pair of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) touch noses in this beautiful snow scene. Photo by Andy Parkinson, UK.
She just wants a friend: Highly commended
Born to an old mother estimated to be around 25 years old, this female Brown bear cub (Ursus arctos) had no other brothers or sisters to play with. The cub expressed curiosity toward other bear families and sometimes was able to play with cubs from other litters. Mother bears are very protective about their own cubs and usually do not allow them to play with cubs from other family groups. The little blond female cub (on the left) met another young bear while her mother was busy fishing in the river at the Katmai National park in Alaska, USA. Photo by Amit Eshel.
Raging Ravens: Highly commended
Common ravens (Corvus corax) engaged in a brawl for food on the Finish/Russian border. Photo by Johan Siggesson.
If you are enjoying this gallery, why not check out some more of our great wildlife images:
Courtship: Cotton Carrier Award winner
A blue morph Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) male (at the back) showing the female (in front) how dominant he is to try and impress her. The photographer had been visiting the remote Hornstrandir area of Iceland for years running during the winter months and this is the only time he had seen this rarely witnessed behaviour up close. Photo by David Gibbon, UK.
In line: Highly commended
A group of sika deer (Cervus nippon) are photographed at the frozen, snow-covered bay of Notsuke Peninsula at northern part of Hokkaido, Japan. Here Sika Deer can be observed on the sea ice on cold winter days. Photo by Tibor Kercz. Hungary.
Bad Connection: WildArt young category winner
Pied Avocets (Recurvirostra avocetta) engaged in a fight over territory, in a low water area on the river Vidre-ér, Hungary, in April 2021.
Photo by Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz. Hungary.
Love: Wild Planet Photo Magazine editor’s choice
A pair of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) show their affection with a courtship display in the glow of the setting sun. The picture was taken on the offshore island of Helgoland in the North Sea. Photo by Thomas Hinsche, Germany.
Dispute: Highly commended
This image of arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopuswas) having a bit of an argument was taken at Svalbard, Norway, on the snow-covered hillsides of Bjorndalen in the middle of March. Photo by Tibor Kercz, Hungary.