London’s Natural History Museum has revealed the first images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 competition and they are, as always, spectacular. The winner of the competition (which has reached its 54th edition) will be announced in London on October 16. The 100 best entries will be shown in the museum from October until next Summer, as well as embark on a UK and international tour.
“We were captivated by the outstanding quality of the images entered into this year's competition, which spoke volumes to us about the passion for nature shared by talented photographers across the world," Ian Owens, director of science at the Natural History Museum and member of the judging panel, said in a press release. "I look forward to seeing the winning selection on beautiful lightbox displays in the exhibition. I'm sure the images will surprise and inspire our visitors, and raise awareness for threatened species and ecosystems."
More than 45,000 entries were submitted this year from amateurs and professionals across 95 countries. The images continue to provide unique insight into the natural world, our place in it, and the impact that humanity has had on our planet. The winning photographs were selected for their creativity, originality, and technical excellence.
"Life among litter" by Greg Lecoeur, France.
A Sargassum fish is photographed floating among litter in the West Pacific ocean. The area is known for its currents, which bring nutrients to the diverse community of species that live there. Unfortunately, the currents also carry plastic and other litter to the region.
"Ahead in the game" by Nicholas Dyer, UK
A pair of wild dog pups play with the head of a chacma baboon. This is unusual prey for the wild dogs, and has only been witnessed by the photographer a few other times.
"Trailblazer" by Christian Wappl, Austria
A firefly larva is photographed moving on the ground of the forest in Thailand’s Peninsular Botanic Garden. Fireflies spend most of their lives as larvae, and while the glow of the adults is for courtship reasons, the glowing organs in the larvae likely serve as a warning to predators.
"School visit" by Adrian Bliss, UK
This hauntingly beautiful image captures a fox standing on a carpet of children-sized gas masks in an abandoned school in Pripyat, Ukraine. The city was evacuated after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Wildlife has since returned to the area, which is mostly free of humans.
"Eye to eye" by Emanuele Biggi, Italy
An extraordinary snapshot of a flying fish caught in mid-air with a red-footed boobie literally on its tail. Sue was following the bird and had no idea that the fish was about to leap out of the water. Her quick reactions truly paid off.
A pack of meerkats react to an Anchieta's cobra that made a move against two pups. The battle took place in Namibia’s Brandberg Mountain and the photographer witnessed the episode for 10 minutes before the cobra retreated back into a warren.
"Witness" by Emily Garthwaite, UK
This photograph was taken at a zoo in Sumatra, where several sun bears like this one live in a cage in conditions that the photographer describes as appalling. Sun bears are the world's smallest bear and are critically endangered. Deforestation and demand for their bile and organs in traditional Chinese medicine are the reasons why these animals are on the brink of extinction.
"Tigerland" by Emmanuel Rondeau, France
This spectacular shot of a male Bengal tiger was captured high in the Himalayas of central Bhutan.