Take a deep breath and enjoy the winners of the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition.
It took almost a year for Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov to capture the image above, but it looks like his efforts were not in vain. Gorshkov was awarded the grand title of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image The Embrace, which shows a female tiger from the threatened Amur population embracing an ancient tree in the low winter sunlight of the Russian Far East.
The winners were announced on Tuesday, October 13, by the Duchess of Cambridge during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum in London. Out of some 49,000 entries from professionals and amateurs from across the world, the judging panel chose Gorshkov’s image as “the best in show” based on its faultless composition and dazzling colors, along with the important story behind the photograph.
“It’s a scene like no other. A unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest,” Rosamund “Roz” Kidman Cox, chair of the judging panel and renowned editor specializing in wildlife and environmental issues, commented in a statement.
“Hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century, the Amur population is still threatened by poaching and logging today,” added Dr Tim Littlewood, Natural History Museum’s executive director of science and jury member. “The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts."
The title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020, an award for photographers aged 17 and under, was awarded to Liina Heikkinen for her image The Fox That Got The Goose (above). Shot in her homeland of Finland, the image shows a mischievous fox with bird feathers poking out its mouth after a successful day of hunting.
“A sense of furtive drama and frantic urgency enlivens this image, drawing us into the frame. The sharp focus on the fox’s face leads us straight to where the action is. A great natural history moment captured perfectly,’ said Shekar Dattatri, a wildlife filmmaker and jury member.
Along with the two top prizes, a number of other awards were handed out for different categories, ranging from urban wildlife and Earth's environments to insect behavior and wildlife photojournalism. You can check out some of the winners below. Last year's equally wonderful winners can also be seen here.