Astonishing images from the wild – Wildlife Photographer of the Year spreads the love of photography and nature with a reminder of why we need to protect our planet now.

Igniting curiosity about the natural world through the power of photography, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious competition of its kind. Seen by millions of people all over the globe, the awarded images showcase nature photography as an art form, whilst reminding us of the urgent need to protect our planet and the species we share it with.

The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year annual award recognises exceptional competition entries as chosen by the public. Admirers of wildlife photography around the world can choose their favourite from 25 images, pre-selected by the Natural History Museum from over 45,000 submissions from 95 countries.

You can vote for the winner of the LUMIX People’s Choice Award here.

Isolated by Anna Henly, UK

Snapped from a helicopter, this isolated tree stands in a cultivated field on the edge of a tropical forest on Kauai, Hawaii. The manmade straight lines of the ploughed furrows are interrupted beautifully by nature’s more unruly wild pattern of tree branches.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Anna-Henly - 1024 x 685

Ice and Water by Audun Lie Dahl, Norway

The Bråsvellbreen glacier moves southwards from one of the ice caps covering the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. Where it meets the sea, the glacier wall is so high that only the waterfalls are visible, so Audun used a drone to capture this unique perspective.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Audun-Lie-Dahl - 741 x 1024

Family Portrait by Connor Stefanison, Canada

A great grey owl and her chicks sit in their nest in the broken top of a Douglas fir tree in Kamloops, Canada. They looked towards Connor only twice as he watched them during the nesting season from a tree hide 50 feet (15 metres) up.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Connor-Stefanison - 1024 x 683

Curious Encounter by Cristobal Serrano, Spain

Any close encounter with an animal in the vast wilderness of Antarctica happens by chance, so Cristobal was thrilled by this spontaneous meeting with a crabeater seal off of Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula. These curious creatures are protected and, with few predators, thrive.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Cristobal-Serrano - 1024 x 682

Bond of Brothers by David Lloyd, New Zealand/UK

These two adult males, probably brothers, greeted and rubbed faces for 30 seconds before settling down. Most people never have the opportunity to witness such animal sentience, and David was honoured to have experienced and captured such a moment.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-David-Lloyd - 1024 x 684

Clam Close-up by David Barrio, Spain

This macro-shot of an iridescent clam was taken in the Southern Red Sea, Marsa Alam, Egypt. These clams spend their lives embedded amongst stony corals, where they nest and grow. It  took David some time to approach the clam, fearing it would sense his movements and snap shut!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-David-Barrio - 1024 x 683

Painted Waterfall by Eduardo Blanco Mendizabal, Spain

When the sun beams through a hole in the rock at the foot of the La Foradada waterfall, Catalonia, Spain, it creates a beautiful pool of light. The rays appear to paint the spray of the waterfall and create a truly magical picture.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Eduardo-Blanco-Mendizabal - 1024 x 683

Ambush by Federico Veronesi, Kenya

On a hot morning at the Chitake Springs, in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Federico watched as an old lioness descended from the top of the riverbank. She’d been lying in wait to ambush any passing animals visiting a nearby waterhole further along the riverbed.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Federico-Veronesi - 1024 x 576

Teenager by Franco Banfi, Switzerland

Franco was free diving off Dominica in the Caribbean Sea when he witnessed this young male sperm whale trying to copulate with a female. Unfortunately for him her calf was always in the way and the frisky male had to continually chase off the troublesome calf.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Franco-Banfi - 1024 x 683

Resting Mountain Gorilla by David Lloyd

The baby gorilla clung to its mother whilst keeping a curious eye on David. He had been trekking in South Bwindi, Uganda, when he came across the whole family. Following them, they then stopped in a small clearing to relax and groom each other.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-David-Lloyd - 1024 x 640

Fox Meets Fox by Matthew Maran, UK

Matthew has been photographing foxes close to his home in north London for over a year and ever since spotting this street art had dreamt of capturing this image. After countless hours and many failed attempts his persistence paid off.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Matthew-Maran - 1024 x 711


Shy by Pedro Carrillo, Spain

The mesmerizing pattern of a beaded sand anemone beautifully frames a juvenile Clarkii clownfish in Lembeh strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Known as a ‘nursery’ anemone, it is often a temporary home for young clownfish until they find a more suitable host anemone for adulthood.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Pedro-Carrillo - 1024 x 1024


The Extraction by Konstantin Shatenev, Russia

Every winter, hundreds of Steller’s sea eagles migrate from Russia, to the relatively ice-free northeastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. They hunt for fish among the ices floes and also scavenge, following the fishing boats to feed on any discards. Konstantin took his image from a boat as the eagles retrieved a dead fish thrown onto the ice.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Konstantin-Shatenev - 1024 x 683

Otherworldly by Franco Banfi, Switzerland

A school of Munk’s devil ray were feeding on plankton at night off the coast of Isla Espíritu Santo in Baja California, Mexico. Franco used the underwater lights from his boat and a long exposure to create this otherworldly image.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Franco-Banfi - 1024 x 683

The Orphaned Beaver by Suzi Eszterhas, United States

A one-month-old orphaned North American beaver kit is held by a caretaker at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, Washington. Luckily it was paired with a female beaver who took on the role of mother and they were later released into the wild.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Suzi-Eszterhas - 1024 x 683

Red, Silver and Black by Tin Man Lee, USA

Tin was fortunate enough to be told about a fox den in Washington State, North America, which was home to a family of red, black and silver foxes. After days of waiting for good weather he was finally rewarded with this touching moment.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Tin-Man-Lee - 1024 x 623

Sound Asleep by Tony Wu, USA

This adult humpback whale balanced in mid-water, headon and sound asleep was photographed in Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. The faint stream of bubbles, visible at the top, is coming from the whale’s two blowholes and was, in this instance, indicative of an extremely relaxed state.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Tony-Wu - 1024 x 1009

Three Kings by Wim Van Den Heever, South Africa

Wim came across these king penguins on a beach in the Falkland Islands just as the sun was rising. They were caught up in a fascinating mating behaviour – the two males were constantly moving around the female using their flippers to fend the other off.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Wim-Van-Den-Heever - 1024 x 622

All That Remains by Phil Jones, UK

A male orca had beached itself about a week before Phil’s visit to Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands. Despite its huge size the shifting sands had almost covered the whole carcass and scavengers, such as this striated caracara, had started to move in.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Phil-Jones - 1024 x 683

Gliding by Christian Vizl, Mexico

With conditions of perfect visibility and beautiful sunlight, Christian took this portrait of a nurse shark gliding through the ocean off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas. Typically these sharks are found near sandy bottoms where they rest, so it’s rare to see them swimming.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Christian-Vizl - 1024 x 683

A Polar Bear’s Struggle by Justin Hofman, USA

Justin’s whole body pained as he watched this starving polar bear at an abandoned hunter’s camp, in the Canadian Arctic, slowly heave itself up to standing. With little, and thinning, ice to move around on, the bear is unable to search for food.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Justin-Hofman - 1024 x 683

Unique Bill by Rob Blanken, The Netherlands

The pied avocet has a unique and delicate bill, which it sweeps like a scythe, as it sifts for food in shallow brackish water. This stunning portrait was taken from a hide in the northern province of Friesland in The Netherlands.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Rob-Blanken - 1024 x 683

One Toy, Three Dogs by Bence Mate, Hungary

While adult African wild dogs are merciless killers, their pups are extremely cute and play all day long. Bence photographed these brothers in Mkuze, South Africa – they all wanted to play with the leg of an impala and were trying to drag it in three different directions!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Bence-Mate - 1024 x 683

Under the Snow by Audren Morel, France

Unafraid of the snowy blizzard, this squirrel came to visit Audren as he was taking photographs of birds in the small Jura village of Les Fourgs, France. Impressed by the squirrel’s endurance, he made it the subject of the shoot.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Audren-Morel - 1024 x 683

The Bat’s Wake by Antonio Leiva Sanchez, Spain

After several months of field research into a little colony of greater mouse-eared bats in Sucs, Lleida, Spain, Antonio managed to capture this bat mid-flight. He used a technique of high speed photography with flashes combined with continuous light to create the ‘wake’.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year-Antonio-Leiva-Sanchez - 1024 x 683

Shortlisted images are on display at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, until the voting ends on 5 February 2019. The winner will then be showcased until June 30.

Also Read: 

Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2018: Astonishing Winning Images

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards: Funniest Animal Photos You’ll Love