© Arshdeep Singh – Winner, 10 Years and Under
- Wildlife photography can shine a light on pressing environmental issues or simply remind us of the splendor of the natural world.
- Every year, the Natural History Museum in London holds a wildlife photography contest to award some of the best images.
- Here are 14 of their top picks from 2018.
Breathtaking photos of the natural world can bring attention to crises, highlight important environmental issues, or simply fascinate us as they reveal the world’s bizarre and beautiful creatures.
Eye-catching images of animals can also garner photographers fame and some fortune. Each year, the Natural History Museum in London crowns one lucky camera-holder Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The prize brings international recognition and monetary prizes up to £10,000. (Judges also award a Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year who’s under the age of 18.)
The images that made the list of winners and finalists this year depict a mother gorilla mourning her dead babe, owls that found refuge in a rusty urban spot, and a Caribbean flamingo behind the steering wheel of a car.
The grand prize went to Marsel van Oosten from the Netherlands, who captured a stunning shot of a pair of monkeys in the mountains of China.
Take a look at those images and other stunning photos of the world’s most fantastic beasts from the 2018 contest.
Van Oosten, the grand-prize winner, is a professional nature photographer who runs a photography tour business with his wife. He nabbed this photo of a “golden couple” in the Qinling Mountains of China.
© Marsel van Oosten – Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Less than 4,000 golden snub-nosed monkeys remain in the snowy mountains of west-central China. Human settlement, as well as logging and hunting, have pushed the furry, blue-nosed creatures towards the brink of extinction.
“Many have been pushed into high-altitude isolation, where they leap across branches, traverse icy rivers, and weather long winters at nearly 10,000 feet, shielded by that coveted coat,” according to National Geographic.
Van Oosten had a tough time keeping up with the monkeys as they hopped from tree to tree, but after some slips and stumbles, he captured this shot of a pair resting.
Underwater photographer Tony Wu was tickled to meet this Asian sheepshead wrasse off the coast of Japan’s Sado Island. The fish’s forehead reveals the “burning desire of a male in love,” he said.
© Tony Wu – Highly commended, Animal Portraits
This Asian sheepshead wrasse uses its bulbous red forehead to attract females. If there aren’t enough men around, older female wrasse can also turn into males. They grow testicles, show off their big pink foreheads, and act aggressive.
“This,” Wu said, “is the face of a fish looking for love.”
The image was highly commended in the contest, and the underwater photographer hopes his work inspires others to appreciate and protect the world’s oceans.
French photographer Greg Lecoeur found this frogfish surrounded by plastic bits in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
© Greg Lecoeur – Highly commended, Wildlife Photojournalism
Lecoeur’s image was also highly commended.
Normally, the fish thrives in Sargassum seaweed habitats, where it stalks and captures prey. But with plastic now covering the world’s oceans in a “seventh continent” of trash, those traditional hunting methods aren’t always possible.
More than 90% of the world’s plastic never gets recycled, and instead ends up in landfills or out in nature.
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