The wait is over. Everyone who was enjoying 20172016 and 51 earlier 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' (WPY) competitions has just received this year's biggest treat. London's Natural History Museum announced the winners of the 2018 contest, and the images reveal the abundance, beauty, resilience and vulnerability of life on Earth.


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The winning photos were chosen from more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of the natural world. The international jury awarded the grand title to Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten for his shot, titled "The Golden Couple." The breathtaking picture features a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains. "It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished," Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, said in a press release. "It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world." Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this particular part of China, and their numbers are steadily decreasing, mainly because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.

"As we were going through the entries, we just kept coming back to this one," Roz Kidman Coz added. "It's almost like a stage set. I think what makes it are the colours and the lighting. These monkeys normally feed in the trees, but somehow Marsel's managed to catch them on the ground, and he's carefully thrown a very gentle flash on to the scene to illuminate that amazing fur."

"This image was shot on my first trip to the Qinling mountains," Marsel van Oosten told Bored Panda. "I spent five days on this location. Since then I have been there two more times."

"I was planning to visit China for landscape photography but decided to check out what kind of wildlife China has apart from pandas. After doing some research I stumbled across the snub-nosed monkeys. There are two main species; the golden snub-nosed monkeys and the black snub-nosed monkeys, and they both look absolutely amazing. Not only that, [but] they're also endangered species, so all the more reason to photograph them."

"My main objective for the golden snub-nosed monkeys was to show the beautiful long guard hairs on the back of one of the males," the photographer added. "To show those hairs I needed to be slightly behind the monkey, which made it difficult to also show the face. Luckily, both monkeys in this image looked up at an altercation in the larger group of 50 monkeys - the perfect moment for me to get the shot I wanted."

"What makes this image better than most of the other ones I've shot is the fact that the background is near perfect: there is some light shining through the canopy in the upper right corner, the rock on which the male is sitting has some beautiful texture, and the trees to the left really complement the scene. Very often when the subjects adopt the perfect pose, the background is not great, or vice versa. What really takes this image to the next level for me, is the light. I used an off-camera flash to bring out the color and the texture in the fur. My wife Daniella was standing on the right, just outside the frame, holding the flash which I controlled remotely. The almost painterly light was exactly what I wanted."

Van Oosten wanted to direct everyone's attention to the currect mass extinction of plants and animals, too. "Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by humans. In fact, 99 per cent of currently threatened species are at risk because of human activities."

"If current rates of human destruction of the biosphere continue, half of all plant and animal species of life on earth will be extinct within 100 years."

"Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the present extinction crisis is the fact that the majority of our closest relatives - the primates - are severely endangered. About 90 per cent of them live in tropical forests, which are disappearing quickly. The IUCN estimates that almost 50 per cent of the world's primate species are at risk of extinction. Overall, the IUCN estimates that half the globe's 5,491 known mammals are declining in population and a fifth are clearly at risk of disappearing forever with no less than 1,131 mammals across the globe classified as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable."

"The golden snub-nosed monkey is endangered due to habitat loss. For instance, lichens are the main staple of the monkey's diet and dead trees contain the most lichen. Unfortunately, dead trees are harvested, thus reducing the quality of the habitat and availability of food. The monkey is a highly selective feeder, so damage to its habitat seriously impacts the species. There are less than 4,000 of these animals left."

"Successful wildlife conservation starts with awareness, and most people don’t even know this species exists. I hope that my photograph will help to spread awareness about this species and that people will realize that not only the rhinos, tigers and polar bears are worth worrying about."

More info: nhm.ac.uk

#1 "The Midnight Passage" By Vegard Lødøen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment

"The Midnight Passage" By Vegard Lødøen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment

‘A dream came true when I took this picture,’ says Vegard. After years of searching, he had finally found a riverside location visited by the deer of Valldal. After partly submerging his camera in a waterproof box, he set up a flash above and below the water, along with motion sensors. Near midnight, a male crossed the river – the camera capturing its proud pose. After moose, red deer are the... Read More

‘A dream came true when I took this picture,’ says Vegard. After years of searching, he had finally found a riverside location visited by the deer of Valldal. After partly submerging his camera in a waterproof box, he set up a flash above and below the water, along with motion sensors. Near midnight, a male crossed the river – the camera capturing its proud pose. After moose, red deer are the largest species of deer. Only the males have antlers, which have been known to grow to more than a metre in length and weigh up to five kilogrammes. At the end of each winter they shed their antlers, which are made of bone – when spring comes they regrow, protected by a soft covering known as velvet.

Natural History Museum Report

Full Name 4 weeks ago

Gorgeous photo. Careful though, if the deer made the camera go off PETA and Wiki Commons will claim it's a selfie and you'll lose all your rights. (Google "Monkey selfie" if that comment makes no sense).

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#2 "Cool Cat" By Isak Pretorius, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits

"Cool Cat" By Isak Pretorius, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits

‘I love creating photos with impact,’ says Isak, who is often on the lookout for Zambia’s most iconic animals. He was photographing a pride of lions when this lioness wandered off. Anticipating it was going for a drink, he positioned himself by the nearest waterhole. It then appeared through the long grass, framed by a wall of lush green. Lions kill more than 95 per cent of their prey at... Read More

‘I love creating photos with impact,’ says Isak, who is often on the lookout for Zambia’s most iconic animals. He was photographing a pride of lions when this lioness wandered off. Anticipating it was going for a drink, he positioned himself by the nearest waterhole. It then appeared through the long grass, framed by a wall of lush green. Lions kill more than 95 per cent of their prey at night, and spend the majority of the day resting. Although they drink readily when water is available, they are also capable of consuming sufficient moisture from their prey and plants – making them perfectly adapted to their arid landscape. Yet despite this, lion numbers are decreasing significantly.

Natural History Museum Report

Hans 4 weeks ago

*slurp*

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#3 Elephants At Twilight By Frans Lanting, The Netherlands, Winner 2018 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Lifetime Achievement Award

Elephants At Twilight By Frans Lanting, The Netherlands, Winner 2018 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Lifetime Achievement Award

One evening during Botswana’s dry season, I waded into a water hole to capture a shimmering reflection of a gathering of elephants at twilight, with a full moon suspended in a luminous pink sky. The image is my homage to the primeval qualities of southern Africa’s wilderness, the grandeur of elephants, and the precious nature of water in a land of thirst.

Natural History Museum Report

Mother Mary Helen 4 weeks ago

Stunning

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#4 "Smoke Bath" By Tom Kennedy, Ireland, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

"Smoke Bath" By Tom Kennedy, Ireland, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

Tom saw the rook as he glanced out of his living room window. Wings spread, the bird was using the neighbour’s chimney pot to smoke bathe. Realising the opportunity – and knowing the heat and smoke would only allow the rook to remain for a few minutes – he quickly took his photograph before leaving it to enjoy its smoky bath. Rooks are incredibly intelligent creatures and smoke bathing is likely... Read More

Tom saw the rook as he glanced out of his living room window. Wings spread, the bird was using the neighbour’s chimney pot to smoke bathe. Realising the opportunity – and knowing the heat and smoke would only allow the rook to remain for a few minutes – he quickly took his photograph before leaving it to enjoy its smoky bath. Rooks are incredibly intelligent creatures and smoke bathing is likely to be a learned behaviour, rather than instinct. The smoke helps the birds to fumigate their feathers, ridding them of irritating parasites such as lice, mites and ticks. The related jackdaw has even been seen fumigating itself over smouldering cigarette ends.

Natural History Museum Report

Oscar 4 weeks ago

Quote the Raven, "Nevermore."

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#5 "Pipe Owls" By Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018 10 Years And Under

"Pipe Owls" By Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018 10 Years And Under

While driving with his father through the city, Arshdeep saw a bird disappearing into an old waste-pipe. He asked to stop the car, then primed his father’s camera and telephoto lens, kneeling up on the seat and resting it on the half-open window at eye-level. It wasn’t long before a spotted owlet emerged, followed by a second. Both stared right at him. Spotted owlets traditionally nest in tree hollows, where the... Read More

While driving with his father through the city, Arshdeep saw a bird disappearing into an old waste-pipe. He asked to stop the car, then primed his father’s camera and telephoto lens, kneeling up on the seat and resting it on the half-open window at eye-level. It wasn’t long before a spotted owlet emerged, followed by a second. Both stared right at him. Spotted owlets traditionally nest in tree hollows, where the female lays up to five eggs. Although common in the Punjab, these small birds are rarely seen in the day, as they are nocturnal. This breeding pair – the larger female on the left – is among those using urban nesting sites following widespread deforestation in the region.

Natural History Museum Report

Janine B. 4 weeks ago

So sad. Beautiful little birdies.

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#6 "City Fisher" By Felix Heintzenberg, Germany / Sweden, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

"City Fisher" By Felix Heintzenberg, Germany / Sweden, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife

The rusty metal rod at the opening of a sewerage outlet pipe was a favourite perch for kingfishers, giving them a view of the fish below. Felix visited the spot many times to study them. Seeing the photographic potential of the colourful scene, he used a gentle flash to highlight this particular bird against the dark opening. Excellent hunters, kingfishers are also good indicators of high water quality. With better water... Read More

The rusty metal rod at the opening of a sewerage outlet pipe was a favourite perch for kingfishers, giving them a view of the fish below. Felix visited the spot many times to study them. Seeing the photographic potential of the colourful scene, he used a gentle flash to highlight this particular bird against the dark opening. Excellent hunters, kingfishers are also good indicators of high water quality. With better water treatment and bans on pollutants in some cities, these birds are slowly returning to urban areas. Kingfishers can struggle to find natural fishing perches in cities and so use whatever they can find, including shopping trollies and scrap metal.

Natural History Museum Report

Alusair Alustriel 4 weeks ago

I like how he used the black tunnel to emphasise the Kingfisher. Catches the eye immediately.

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#7 "Ahead In The Game" By Nicholas Dyer, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals

"Ahead In The Game" By Nicholas Dyer, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals

After tracking this pack of African wild dogs on foot for more than three kilometres, Nicholas looked on as this pair of pups played a macabre game with the remains of their baboon breakfast. ‘Half of me felt disturbed by the disrespect this deceased fellow primate was receiving,’ he says. ‘The other half was caught up in the infectious joy of the puppies.’ The endangered African wild dog, also known... Read More

After tracking this pack of African wild dogs on foot for more than three kilometres, Nicholas looked on as this pair of pups played a macabre game with the remains of their baboon breakfast. ‘Half of me felt disturbed by the disrespect this deceased fellow primate was receiving,’ he says. ‘The other half was caught up in the infectious joy of the puppies.’ The endangered African wild dog, also known as the painted wolf, is best known for hunting antelope, such as impala and gazelle. However, its main prey can vary from pack to pack and will include smaller animals such as this baboon. Known for their intricate social structures, painted wolf pups old enough to take solid food are given priority at kills.

Natural History Museum Report

Aaron Kara 4 weeks ago

Aaww they've got a ball to play - wait...oh god

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#8 "A Bear On The Edge" By Sergey Gorshkov, Russia, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment

"A Bear On The Edge" By Sergey Gorshkov, Russia, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment

For Sergey, this photograph of a solitary polar bear walking steadily along a glacier is ‘a symbol of Franz Josef Land’. It speaks of the vulnerability of an iconic animal that depends entirely on this frozen wilderness. His powerful composition gives no hint of the biting wind and icy sea spray he had to endure while taking it. The Russian Arctic National Park has recently been expanded to include the 191... Read More

For Sergey, this photograph of a solitary polar bear walking steadily along a glacier is ‘a symbol of Franz Josef Land’. It speaks of the vulnerability of an iconic animal that depends entirely on this frozen wilderness. His powerful composition gives no hint of the biting wind and icy sea spray he had to endure while taking it. The Russian Arctic National Park has recently been expanded to include the 191 uninhabited islands of Franz Josef Land. With a lack of data for this remote region, both polar bear numbers and rates of sea ice decline are unknown. This presents problems for polar bear conservation, as researchers need data to understand the impact of climate change here.

Natural History Museum Report

#9 "Argentine Quickstep" By Darío Podestá, Argentina, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits

"Argentine Quickstep" By Darío Podestá, Argentina, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits

Surveying the scene, Darío was captivated by ‘the fragility of the chick’ as it used its oversized legs to scurry after its parents. After an uncomfortable crawl through a salt field in the rain and mud, Darío trained his lens on the speckled fluff of the chick, framing it against the dramatic background of salt and sky. Two-banded plover chicks will leave their nests almost immediately after they hatch, relying on... Read More

Surveying the scene, Darío was captivated by ‘the fragility of the chick’ as it used its oversized legs to scurry after its parents. After an uncomfortable crawl through a salt field in the rain and mud, Darío trained his lens on the speckled fluff of the chick, framing it against the dramatic background of salt and sky. Two-banded plover chicks will leave their nests almost immediately after they hatch, relying on their stilt-like legs to keep pace with their parents and to evade potential predators. Their long legs also keep their soft down away from the wet ground. After four or five weeks, they will grow large enough to fly away from the care of their mother and father.

Natural History Museum Report

Sarah 4 weeks ago

Aaaaaahhhhhhhh it's so damn cute

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#10 "Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby" By Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain, Winner 2018 Behaviours Mammals

"Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby" By Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain, Winner 2018 Behaviours Mammals

Kuhirwa, a young female mountain gorilla, would not give up on her dead baby. Initially she cuddled and groomed the tiny corpse, carrying it piggyback like the other mothers. Weeks later, she started to eat what was left of it. Forced by the low light to work with a wide aperture and a narrow depth of field, Ricardo focused on the body rather than Kuhirwa’s face. From elephants stroking the... Read More

Kuhirwa, a young female mountain gorilla, would not give up on her dead baby. Initially she cuddled and groomed the tiny corpse, carrying it piggyback like the other mothers. Weeks later, she started to eat what was left of it. Forced by the low light to work with a wide aperture and a narrow depth of field, Ricardo focused on the body rather than Kuhirwa’s face. From elephants stroking the bones of deceased family members to dolphins trying to keep dead companions afloat, there is an abundance of credible evidence to show that animals visibly express grief. Kuhirwa’s initial actions can be interpreted as mourning, her behaviour showing the pain of a mother who has lost her child.

Natural History Museum Report

Monty Is Fiennes 4 weeks ago

Heartbreaking

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