The Winners Of The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Awards Are Absolutely Spectacular

Curious young Californian sea lions come over to play frisbee with a starfish in the waters off the island of Espíritu Santo. Luis Sandoval/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

5 – The Alley Cat (Winner, Urban)

A leopard slips silently by in the alleyways of a suburb of Mumbai. Despite a few occasional attacks on humans, these cats are widely accepted as part of day-to-day life here, as they stalk the streets in search of food – mostly stray dogs.

Credit: Nayan Khanolkar, from India/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

6 – Requiem for an Owl (Winner, Black and White)

This photographer’s forest in Bashult, Southern Sweden was found to contain an adorable pairing of Eurasian pygmy owls, each of which was barely 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) tall. One night, he noticed that one was lying dead on the ground, with its companion looking on forlorn, lit by the first light of dawn.

Shortly after this photograph was taken, the surviving owl was killed too, likely by another larger bird not wishing to share its territory with others.

Credit: Mats Andersson, from Sweden/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

7 – Snapper Party (Winner, Underwater)

Thousands of two-spot red snappers gather to spawn around the Western Pacific isle of Palau for several days each month, in tandem with each full Moon. The maelstrom of mating is fast and furious, with predators also joining the fray and hoping to capture a tasty meal.

On one extremely lucky occasion, after many failed attempts, the photographer captured a dynamic arc of spawning fish amid clouds of eggs under the sinewy morning light.

Credit: Tony Wu, from USA/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

8 – The Sand Canvas (Winner, Details)

The white sand of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park acts like a blank canvas to the incoming rain, which sculpts out the most vibrant and ephemeral lagoons painted by colorful bacteria. Planning two years in advance for the perfect moment to shoot, this photographer flew over the incredible scene and, leaning outside, shot directly downwards.

Credit: Rudi Sebastian, from Germany/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

9 – Star Player (Winner, Impressions)

Curious young Californian sea lions come over to say "hi" in the waters off the island of Espíritu Santo. One of the pups grabbed a starfish and started using it as a frisbee, passing it back and forth, honing its hunting techniques.

Credit: Luis Sandoval, from Mexico/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

10 – The Pangolin Pit (Winner, Single Image Photojournalist Award)

The horrifying scene of 4,000 defrosting pangolins – the world’s most trafficked mammal – shocked this particular photojournalist. These Sunda pangolins were on their way to China and Vietnam in order to be harvested for use in traditional medicine when a joint operation between the World Conservation Society and the Indonesian authorities seized them.

Found in a shipping container behind a layer of frozen fish, 96 live pangolins were also recovered, all of which were released back into their rainforest home. Pangolins were recently granted the most advanced level of protection by 182 nations, but as the photographer himself said, “Wildlife crime is big business” that will “stop only when the demand stops.”

Credit: Paul Hilton, from UK & Australia/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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