Everyone who was enjoying 2017, 2016 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.
Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten took the top prize for his beautiful portrait of a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys. In the youth category, 16-year-old Skye Meaker was named Youth Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his moving portrait of a leopard waking from sleep in a game reserve in Botswana.
This year’s competition saw over 45,000 submissions from 95 countries, which were judged by an expert panel on their originality, creativity, and technical excellence.
Some pictures below (some images may be too brutal).
“The Golden Couple” By Marsel Van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner. This pair belongs to a subspecies of golden snub-nosed monkey restricted to the Qinling Mountains. Among the most striking primates in the world, these monkeys are in danger of disappearing. Their numbers have steadily declined over the decades and there are now fewer than 4,000 individuals left.
“Lounging Leopard” By Skye Meaker, South Africa, Young Wildlife Photographer Of The Year.
“Reflective Sunset” By Sri Ram Mohan Akshay Valluru, India, Highly Commended 2018 15–17 Years Old
“Pipe Owls” By Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018 10 Years And Under
“Ahead In The Game” By Nicholas Dyer, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals
“Argentine Quickstep” By Darío Podestá, Argentina, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits
“Night Snack” By Audun Rikardsen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Under Water
“The Meerkat Mob” By Tertius A Gous, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals
Michel D’oultremont, Belgium, Winner 2018 Rising Star Portfolio Award
“Mud-Rolling Mud-Dauber” By Georgina Steytler, Australia, Winner 2018 Behaviours Invertebrates
Autopsy By Antonio Olmos, Mexico / Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Wildlife Photojournalism. A young Siberian tigress is laid out, awaiting an autopsy. Its emaciated body was found under a car, missing a forepaw. Undoubtedly, it had chewed off its own foot after being caught in a poacher’s trap. Unable to hunt, it would have slowly starved to death. For Antonio, seeing such a majestic animal reduced to this was heartbreaking. Siberian tigers have been hunted almost to extinction, with barely 360 left in the wild. Despite being classified as endangered for the past few decades, their numbers continue to decline, as they are hunted by poachers and their homes are lost to deforestation. Human disregard continues to decimate tiger populations, leaving their fate hanging in the balance.
“Witness” By Emily Garthwaite, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Wildlife Photojournalism. Sun bears are the world’s rarest bears, yet are commonly exploited in Southeast Asia for their gall bladders and bile.
“Blood Thirsty” By Thomas P Peschak, Germany / South Africa, Winner 2018 Behaviours Birds
“Late-Night Feed” By Susan Scott, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Wildlife Photojournalism
Colour, Sound, Action By Liron Gertsman, Canada, Highly Commended 2018 15–17 Years Old
“Night Flight” By Michael Patrick O’neill, Usa, Winner 2018 Under Water
“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 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.
Elephants At Twilight By Frans Lanting, The Netherlands, Winner 2018 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Lifetime Achievement Award
“Cool Cat” By Isak Pretorius, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits
“The Midnight Passage” By Vegard Lødøen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment
“The Bigger Bite” By Chris Brunskill, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals
“School Visit” By Adrian Bliss, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife. Lying ruined and looted, the city of Pripyat is within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which was established after the nuclear disaster of 1986. Devoid of humans, the city has surrendered to nature. This red fox trotted into the derelict classroom, stopping briefly on the carpet of child-sized gas masks just long enough for a picture.
Beautiful and heartbreaking.