The annual World Nature Photography Awards (WNPA) have just announced their 2021 winners, and the pictures are stunning.

The top award and cash prize of $1,000 went to Amos Nachoum from the United States for his image of a leopard seal about to capture a defenseless Gentoo penguin.

Nachoum waited patiently for hours on the remote island of Plano, off the Antarctic Peninsula, for the right moment at low tide, when the seals stealthily enter a lagoon and search for their prey.

However, all 14 categories have seen images that capture the beauty of our planet.

As humanity's relationship with Earth slowly shifts to be one of protection rather than plunder, the organizers of the contest believe that photography can put a spotlight on the majesty and wonder of the natural world, reminding us to take action now in order to secure a better tomorrow for everyone. And when you scroll through the judges' favorites, it's impossible to disagree.

More info: worldnaturephotographyawards.com

#1

Animal Portraits, Bronze: Amit Eshel, Israel

Animal Portraits, Bronze: Amit Eshel, Israel

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Susan Green
Community Member
5 months ago

This is so beautiful.

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#2

Black And White, Gold: Vince Burton, UK

Black And White, Gold: Vince Burton, UK

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Coffee panda
Community Member
5 months ago

Poor little thing 😢

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WNPA started when a group of sustainability professionals, photography sponsorship consultants and the team behind the long-established design competition the Visual Identity Awards came together to follow up on the germ of an idea for a competition that not only promotes the world's best photographers but also does something for the planet. 

2021's competition saw entries come in from 20 countries across 6 continents. "As always, it's such a thrill to see the amazing caliber of entries into the awards," Adrian Dinsdale, co-founder of the WNPA told Bored Panda in a statement. "Seeing these images cannot fail to motivate one to do everything to protect this fragile planet of ours. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners."

#3

Urban Wildlife, Silver: Mohammad Murad, Kuwait

Urban Wildlife, Silver: Mohammad Murad, Kuwait

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Magentablu
Community Member
5 months ago

Light pollution. Makes me sad beyond anyone would believe

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#4

Behaviour Amphibians And Reptiles, Silver: Massimo Giorgetta, Italy

Behaviour Amphibians And Reptiles, Silver: Massimo Giorgetta, Italy

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

Nope.

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#5

Animals In Their Habitat, Gold: Thomas Vijayan, Canada

Animals In Their Habitat, Gold: Thomas Vijayan, Canada

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

Is he lost? He should be in the University library.

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The overall winner of the competition, Amos Nachoum, has photographed just about everything from war and fashion to car and motorcycle races. However, what he loves shooting the most is wildlife.

Though his interest in conservation began with sharks, Amos looks to bring attention to the most fragile regions of the underwater realm with preservation of the environment foremost in his mind. His favorite way to raise awareness and stimulate passion for the ocean is to help viewers experience it first-hand.

Amos's photography has also won Nikon, Communication Arts, and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

#6

Behaviour Mammals, Gold Winner And Grand Prize: Amos Nachoum, USA

Behaviour Mammals, Gold Winner And Grand Prize: Amos Nachoum, USA

"For hours, I waited for the low tide to arrive along a shallow lagoon on a remote island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Like clockwork, the leopard seal arrived in the lagoon just before low tide. It put its head in the water and looked just like a rock sitting in the receding water. The young Gentoo penguins only dare to enter the water when it is shallow and when they got close enough to the seal, it turned its head at lightning speed, catching one of the penguins by its feet and taking it to deep water. Once the seal reached open water, I followed it and swam parallel to it, observing its actions. To my surprise, it let go of the penguin twice. Each time, the seal chased after the penguin again, as if it was enjoying the game. The terrified penguin tried to escape as the game continued. But soon, the end came. "

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

At first glance I thought this was a scene from Jurassic World or something. Sea monster eating a diver.

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#7

Animal Portraits, Silver: Neelutpaul Barua, India

Animal Portraits, Silver: Neelutpaul Barua, India

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Paul C.
Community Member
5 months ago

Mum, Mum! Don't worry son I've seen him....any closer with that camera and he's toast!

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#8

Behaviour Mammals, Bronze: Buddhilini De Soyza, Australia

Behaviour Mammals, Bronze: Buddhilini De Soyza, Australia

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Susan Green
Community Member
5 months ago

I love cheetahs. I hope they are okay.

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#9

Behaviour Invertebrates, Gold: Chin Leong Teo, Singapore

Behaviour Invertebrates, Gold: Chin Leong Teo, Singapore

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Paul C.
Community Member
5 months ago

Like a bridge over troubled water....

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We really need contests such as WNPA, reminding us to cherish the only home we have. CO2 PPM (parts per million) is at 418 and the global temperature rise is 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. 

Increased emissions of greenhouse gases are causing catastrophic events all over the world – from Australia and the US experiencing some of the most devastating bushfire seasons ever recorded to microplastic being found in Antarctic ice and the intensifying deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, there are plenty of signs that things aren't going well.

#10

Behaviour Birds, Silver: Robert J. Ross, USA

Behaviour Birds, Silver: Robert J. Ross, USA

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rumade
Community Member
5 months ago

The tree of flight...

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#11

Behaviour Amphibians And Reptiles, Gold: Shayne Kaye, Canada

Behaviour Amphibians And Reptiles, Gold: Shayne Kaye, Canada

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Julien Ashby-Steele
Community Member
5 months ago

my dude be lookin comfy

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#12

Animal Portraits, Gold: Tom Vierus, Fiji

Animal Portraits, Gold: Tom Vierus, Fiji

"Long-tailed macaques enjoy the warmth of each other during a hot day in Bali, Indonesia. These animals show very similar behaviour to us humans including enjoying each other trusting company. The macaques are used to humans and are commonly found around temples where they tend to feed on food sacrifices by the locals."

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Iggy
Community Member
5 months ago

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!😍

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#13

Black And White, Silver: Avanka Fernando, Sri Lanka

Black And White, Silver: Avanka Fernando, Sri Lanka

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

Madonna and child.

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According to economists like Nicholas Stern, the climate crisis is a result of multiple market failures.

Economists and environmentalists have urged policymakers for years to increase the price of activities that emit greenhouse gases (one of our biggest environmental problems).

A national carbon tax is currently implemented in 27 countries around the world, including various countries in the EU, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Ukraine, and Argentina.

#14

Behaviour Mammals, Silver: William Fortescue, UK

Behaviour Mammals, Silver: William Fortescue, UK

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Judy Reynolds
Community Member
5 months ago

I wonder whether they are really fighting, or just playing...

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#15

Behaviour Birds, Bronze: Robert Maynard, UK

Behaviour Birds, Bronze: Robert Maynard, UK

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Quaumsy
Community Member
5 months ago

That water looks crazy

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#16

Planet Earth's Landscape And Environments, Gold: Sam Wilson, Australia

Planet Earth's Landscape And Environments, Gold: Sam Wilson, Australia

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Tiny Dancer
Community Member
5 months ago

From the link: "Travelling down random dirt roads can be so rewarding when you are greeted with scenes like this. Taken on South Island, New Zealand."

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#17

Black And White, Bronze: Michael Stavrakakis, Australia

Black And White, Bronze: Michael Stavrakakis, Australia

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

Butt seriously.....

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However, as the 2019 OECD Tax Energy Use report highlights, current tax structures are not adequately aligned with the pollution profile of energy sources.

For example, the OECD suggests that carbon taxes are not harsh enough on coal production, although it has proved to be effective for the electricity industry.

A carbon tax has been effectively implemented in Sweden; the carbon tax there is $127 per tonne and has reduced emissions by 25% since 1995, while its economy has expanded 75% in the same time period. 

#18

Nature Art, Bronze: Gabriel Barathieu, Mayotte

Nature Art, Bronze: Gabriel Barathieu, Mayotte

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

What am I looking at?

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#19

Animals In Their Habitat, Bronze: Christian Tuckwell Smith, UK

Animals In Their Habitat, Bronze: Christian Tuckwell Smith, UK

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Judy Reynolds
Community Member
5 months ago

So few photos of polar bears show their environment. Here, the bear is dwarfed by the glacier and rocks!

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#20

Animals In Their Habitat, Silver: Celia Kujala, USA

Animals In Their Habitat, Silver: Celia Kujala, USA

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DuchessDegu
Community Member
5 months ago

That's the last thing the penguin in the gold winner would have seen!

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#21

Nature Photojournalism, Gold: Alain Schroeder, Belgium

Nature Photojournalism, Gold: Alain Schroeder, Belgium

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Tiny Dancer
Community Member
5 months ago

From the link: "Sibolangit, SOCP Quarantine Centre, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The whole SOCP team works together to prepare Brenda, an estimated 3-month-old female orangutan (she has no teeth yet), for surgery. A sedative is administered, the arm is shaved, her temperature is taken, while others hold her head or her hand out of compassion for the baby. During the three-hour procedure, Dr. Andreas Messikommer, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon invited from Switzerland, will place a pin and screws to secure the damaged humerus. Brenda was confiscated from a villager in Blang Pidie on the west coast of Aceh who was keeping her as a pet."

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Furthermore, organizations such as the United Nations are not fit to deal with the climate crisis. Take the Paris Agreement, for example. It says that countries need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly so that global temperature rise is below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and ideally under 1.5 degrees. But signing on to it is voluntary, and there are no real repercussions for non-compliance.

#22

People And Nature, Gold: Sabrina Inderbitzi, Switzerland

People And Nature, Gold: Sabrina Inderbitzi, Switzerland

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arlos dream of delusion
Community Member
5 months ago

hm, looks like glass

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See Also on Bored Panda
#23

Plants And Fungi, Bronze: Jan Czeczotka, Germany

Plants And Fungi, Bronze: Jan Czeczotka, Germany

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

I have to do this. it is a law. “Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he's a fungi!”

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A recent WWF report pointed out that the population sizes of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have experienced a decline of an average of 68% between 1970 and 2016. The paper attributes this biodiversity loss to a variety of factors, but mainly land-use change, particularly the conversion of habitats, like forests, grasslands, and mangroves, into agricultural systems.

#24

Urban Wildlife, Bronze: Alex Pansier, Netherlands

Urban Wildlife, Bronze: Alex Pansier, Netherlands

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
5 months ago

Please look up the photographer, he's taken the most amazing and cutest photos of squirrels.

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#25

Urban Wildlife, Gold: Matthijs Noome, USA

Urban Wildlife, Gold: Matthijs Noome, USA

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Tiny Dancer
Community Member
5 months ago

From the link: "Finally got the shot I wanted: a humpback's fluke with the New York City downtown skyline in the distance. As water quality measures and conservation efforts have started to show real results over the last years, humpback whales are becoming a common sight more and more in New York waters."

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#26

Behaviour Birds, Gold: Ashok Behera, India

Behaviour Birds, Gold: Ashok Behera, India

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Nathaniel
Community Member
5 months ago

Only just realised, the vulture is taking the eye! Missed that first time I looked at the pic.

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#27

Nature Art, Gold: Federico Testi, Italy

Nature Art, Gold: Federico Testi, Italy

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Tiny Dancer
Community Member
5 months ago

From the link: "The natural creativity of San Quirico d'orcia, in Tuscany, Italy. Waves, shapes and tone created by light, in harmony with the universe."

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#28

People And Nature, Silver: Mike Eyett, Switzerland

People And Nature, Silver: Mike Eyett, Switzerland

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Mark Serbian, PK&RG,W
Community Member
5 months ago

Eeeeww! A human!

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#29

Nature Art, Silver: Monika Schneider, Germany

Nature Art, Silver: Monika Schneider, Germany

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BabyYodaIsMe
Community Member
5 months ago

Dandalien

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#30

Planet Earth's Landscape And Environments, Bronze: Rie Asada, Japan

Planet Earth's Landscape And Environments, Bronze: Rie Asada, Japan

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Angelar
Community Member
5 months ago

The walls of the palace were formed of drifted snow, and the windows and doors of the cutting winds. There were more than a hundred rooms in it, all as if they had been formed with snow blown together. The largest of them extended for several miles; they were all lighted up by the vivid light of the aurora, and they were so large and empty, so icy cold and glittering! (The Palace of the Snow Queen, H.C. Andersen)

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Note: this post originally had 39 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.