It’s that time of year again – London’s Natural History Museum is getting ready to announce the winner of its Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, and we can reveal to you, dear readers, some of the extremely talented finalists.
As ever, these awards demonstrate that nature is capable of producing some remarkable biological constructs, from the extremely large to the adorably small. So, from this point on, we’ll let the absolutely breathtaking images do the talking themselves.
Lead image: Bear Hug, by Ashleigh Scully from the USA/Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Taken in Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park, this family of brown bears were making their way back from fishing for clams at low tide – but one little cub decided it wanted to try and wrestle its mother to the ground. It didn’t succeed, but it gave it a good shot.
Snapped near the photographer’s home in Southern Sweden on a cold February morning, this red squirrel was seen to take on this meditative pose for just a moment before continuing its search for food.
This Arctic fox is seen here looking for an appropriate burial spot for its bounty – a goose egg. Taken in the Russian Far East on Wrangel Island, the photographer explains that lemmings are the food of choice for these crafty creatures. However, for a few days, geese from across the world land here to breed, which gives these foxes a second, delicious dietary option.
This photographer spends a lot of time on Amaknak Island in Alaska snapping shots of these incredible birds. He spends so much time there that individual eagles trust him more than others – and this particularly bird got so close that it was practically towering over him.
A truly adventurous photographer that has a huge portfolio of shots depicting life beneath Antarctica, this particular shot is clearly one of his best to date. These Weddell Seals are a mother and pup pair, and it’s likely that the pup has only recently been introduced to the ice. Either way, they were unbothered by Ballesta’s presence. “They looked so at ease, where I felt so inappropriate,” he explains.