Packed with dramatic images captured around the world, this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards tells the stories of some of Earth's most elusive, endangered, and otherwise picture-perfect animals.
Topping the National History Museum, London's annual photo contest as the Grand Title Winner was "The Golden Couple," captured by Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten. The endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys are found only in China's remote Qinling Mountains – and capturing them proved to be no easy feat. Oosten said he had to learn and predict their behavior, capturing the duo while they were resting after swinging from tree to tree.
His photo overcame 45,000 other entries and 18 winning categories capturing amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects from around the world. Plus, he got to walk away with £10,000.
One of the most anticipated categories is Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, won this year by 16-year-old Skye Meaker of South Africa for his image of a leopard named Mathoja waking up at the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana.
Here are the rest of the winners of WPOTY 2018.
Animals in Their Environment: “Bed of Seals” by Cristobal Serrano (Spain)
This epic shot was taken by a drone launched from a rubber dingy off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. In it, crabeater seals are seen lounging on an ice floe. What looks to be blood is actually the splattered digested remains of not blood, splattered of their favorite red-hued food, krill.
Amphibians and Reptiles Behavior: “Hellbent” by David Herasimtschuk (US)
This photo shows a northern water snake clamped in the jaws of the US' largest salamander, a hellbender. Usually, the endangered amphibian hunts small insects and eggs by securing their prey with suction. The snake – which was an odd dinner choice, to begin with – was able to push itself to freedom after the photo was taken.
Birds Behavior: “Blood Thirsty” by Thomas Peschak (German/South Africa)
A sharp-beaked ground finch is photographed pecking at the flight feathers of a Nazoa booby in the Galapagos Islands, drinking its blood to survive given a lack of food on the island.
Invertebrates Behavior: “Mud-Rolling Mud-Dauber” by Georgina Steytler (Australia)
Wasps are seen at the water’s edge rolling mud balls to carry them in order to build their nests.
Mammals Behavior: “Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby” by Ricardo Montero (Spain)
A young female mountain gorilla is captured cuddling and grooming the corpse of her dead babe. Weeks later, she ate what was left of it.
Plants and Fungi: “Desert Relic” by Jen Guyton (Germany/USA)
Taken in the Namib Desert, this photo shows the architecture of the welwitschia plant, which can live up to 1,000 years. Two slow-growing leaves creep over the desert throughout its lifetime.
Under Water: “Night Flight” by Michael Patrick (USA)
A flying fish captured swimming slowly just under the surface of the water.
Urban Wildlife: “Crossing Paths” by Marco Columbo (Italy)
A rare female Marsican brown bear captured in the road of a village. Isolated and critically endangered, the bear's habitat is fragmented and threatened by human expansion.
Earth’s Environments: “Windsweep” by Orlando Fernandez Miranda (Spain)
A sand dune pictured on the Skeleton Coast in Africa's Namib Desert showing life-providing moisture as the fog spills inland.
Black and White: “The Vision” by Jan van der Greef (The Netherlands)
A hummingbird's wings photographed expanding out from a plant as the bird closes its tail to mimic a perfect cross. Pictured in Peru.
Creative Visions: “The Ice Pool” by Cristobal Serrano (Spain)
A heart-shaped iceberg captured by drones shows crabeater seals in their natural habitat.
Wildlife Photojournalism (Single Image): “The Sad Clown” by Joan de la Malla (Spain)
Timbul, a long-tailed macaque, presses his hand to his face to relieve discomfort caused by a mask. In Indonesia, many people train the normally social macaques to perform tricks for money.
Visit the full gallery at London's Natural History Museum for a full view of the winners and those who received honorable mention.