The winners of this year's Nature InFocus Photography Awards have been announced, and they are stunning. Offering a glimpse into nature that ranges from humorous to heartbreaking, the wildlife competition doesn't just revel in the wonders of the natural world, but aims to highlight "natural history moments and critical conservation issues."
From 14,000 images sent in from photographers all over the world, the task of narrowing this down to winners of the five categories and an overall winner was not easy, but the winning images reflect the remarkable variety of ways wildlife inhabit the natural environment.
"Every single image in this collection has urgent stories to share about the natural world from remarkable natural history moments to pressing conservation issues, and it is about time we as a race stood up and paid attention," Nature InFocus said.
"The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a stark wake-up call for humankind. Or so we hope. There has never been a stronger message to stop messing with the environment and to do everything we can to conserve it."
The top honor of Nature InFocus Photograph of the Year went to Yashpal Rathore for his image above of a bat in flight against an urban backdrop. Rathore also won the Wildscape & Animals In Habitat category with this photo.
Check out the rest of the winners below, and the complete gallery including runners up can be seen here.
Winner – Animal Portraits
The Ganges River dolphin is the oldest existing river dolphin species, but today there is thought to be only around 3,700 roaming India's river systems.
Winner – Creative Nature Photography
A family of elephants huddles under the constellation Orion in Manas National Park, Assam, surrounded by fireflies. It doesn't get much more magical than this.
Winner – Conservation Issues
Fishermen debate the value of a Mobula ray in Kakinada, India. Mobula rays are protected, and these will be traded illegally to Southeast Asia, where they go for huge sums of money as their gills are thought to have "medicinal" properties.
Winner – Animal Behavior
Brown paper nautiluses are argonauts, a type of octopus. This one, photographed in Balayan Bay, Luzon, in the Philippines, is seen riding on a medusa jellyfish. It's thought nautiluses use the jellyfish as both a food source and a weapon. It turned the jelly towards the camera here as an active form of protection.
Winner – Young Photographer
A large-tusked male walked towards Sitara Karthikeyan in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand, northern India dust bathing himself to keep the bugs at bay and keep cool.