Now in its 46th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is an international showcase for the very best nature photography. The competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and each year tens of thousands of entries are received and judged by a specially selected expert panel. This year’s winners were announced last night at an awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London and you can check them out on the Natural History Museum website.
The breath-taking photographs are entered into a range of categories, including Animals in their Environment, Underwater World, Nature in Black and White and Urban Wildlife, but there is one award in particular which is very close to our hearts. The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife commemorates the late Gerald Durrell’s work with endangered species and his long-standing involvement with the competition. The award is proudly supported by Wildscreen’s ARKive initiative and is given to the most memorable image and that which captures the unique character or spirit of the subject. The species featured must be officially listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened at an international or national level.
So without further ado, we thought we would take a look at this year’s winning and highly commended images.
Winner: Peter Chadwick – Taking off
This spectacular picture of African black oystercatchers taking off from their rocky perch as a wave breaks over it was chosen as the winning image this year. These striking black birds are classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Found along the coast of Southern Africa, birds on the mainland are under threat from human disturbance to their nesting sites, while island populations have been threatened by the introduction of terrestrial mammalian predators.
Runner-up: Cyril Ruoso – Tiny warm-up
Runner-up this year is Cyril Ruoso’s beautiful photograph of a young golden snub-nosed monkey, a species classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Sadly, this sociable primate has long been hunted for use in traditional medicines, with the pelt of the species once thought to prevent rheumatism, as well as for its fur and meat.
Highly Commended: Valter Binotto – Apollo at rest
Valter Binotto’s stunning image of an Apollo butterfly was highly commended by the judges. Classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, the biggest threat faced by this beautiful butterfly is habitat loss, with conifer plantations, agriculture and urbanisation all leading to population declines. In addition, this species displays a great deal of individual variation and subsequently faces pressure from collectors, who aim to possess as many of the variants as possible.
Further details about the competition, plus all of the winning photographs, can be found on the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year pages on the Natural History Museum website.
A number of the competition winners, including Cyril Ruoso, will also be attending WildPhotos to talk about their winning images and share their stories, hints and tips. WildPhotos, the UK’s largest nature photography symposium, is taking place this Friday and Saturday at the Royal Geographical Society in London, details of the programme can be found on the website.
Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher