12 Stunning Wildlife Winning Photos From London’s Natural History Museum Exhibition

Arts & Celebrities

The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year (WPY) exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London is a show of work of the world’s 105 best nature photographers awarded for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of wildlife on our planet.

From the jungles to the deep polar seas, it’s a chance to meet the creatures that rely on these places, come face-to-face with species at risk of extinction as well as those we’ve brought back from the brink, and to see first-hand how human activities, both good and bad, are shaping the natural world we rely on.

MORE FROM FORBESBest Wildlife Photography Of The Year: 25 Photos To Vote For Your Favorite

Here’s a selection of 12 awe-inspiring images authorized by the museum for this article that should leave you amazed by the beauty and diversity of nature but also with a renewed drive to do what you can to protect it.

“Photography allows us to tell powerful stories about the wildlife we share this planet with – a beautiful but increasingly fragile place,” the WPY organizers said.

“Wildlife photography can help you to connect with, and make a positive impact on the natural world as we all have our part to play in helping to find solutions to the planetary emergency.”

MORE FROM FORBESWild Animals In Beautiful Photos: 25 Winners Of Nature Photographer Of The Year Contest

Using photography’s unique emotive power, the annual competition and touring exhibition seeks to create advocates for the planet by shining a light on inspiring and impactful stories from the natural world.

The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition is open until June 30.

If you can’t make it to London, it will tour in the UK and internationally throughout this year.

You can also see the WPY images from the current and previous years’ competitions here.

Living dangerously

In this photo taken at Chitabe Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a porcupine uses its spiky quills to defend itself against a leopard. Photographer Dana Allen noticed the young leopard first and followed its interaction with the porcupine. “The leopard kept trying to reach his paw around the front or underneath but the porcupine would always turn to present its sharp side or try to reverse into its attacker.”

Leopards will eat anything from insects to large antelopes but a Cape porcupine makes a formidable opponent. When threatened, these large rodents raise and spread their quills and rattle them menacingly.

Two juvenile black-winged kites attempt to grab an incoming meal in a tense aerial face-off in the Agamon Hula-JNF Birdwatching and Nature Park, Upper Galilee, Israel.

Yossi Eshbol had been watching the chicks since they had hatched 45 days before, and this moment represented the highest they had yet flown. The parents of these black-winged kites were the first to nest in Israel.

Since 2011, this species has spread throughout the country, breeding year round, with possibly as many as 100 pairs now in the Hula Valley and ten times that countrywide.

In this “Clash of the Titans,” two Komodo dragons duke it out through clouds of golden sand on Indonesia’s Rinca Island. Tom Way’s intention, as his dinghy drifted towards the beach, was to get close enough to photograph the two Komodos resting on the sand. Suddenly they reared up and clashed, a dispute that was over in seconds.

With fewer than 1,400 adult dragons left in the world, and their range limited to a handful of Indonesian islands, the animal is now listed as endangered as rising sea levels submerge its habitat and threaten its survival.

Jerry Tsang spent a day squatting under spider webs, his camera pointed up to the sky. The light silhouetted the small orb weaver in the foreground, while a hint of flash lit the far larger dewdrop spider in the foreground. The relationship between the spiders is complex and may work to their mutual benefit.

Dewdrop spiders attract more prey into orb weaver webs, but some species of dewdrop spiders are known to feed on the orb weaver host when it molts and can’t defend itself.

“I went to meet a friend at his house one day in Ubud, Bali, and immediately noticed a lot of golden orb weavers residing in his garden,” Tsang recalled. “I took a closer look and found many little spiders residing in their webs. “It’s a kleptoparasitic relationship between the orb weavers and an Argyrodes (Dewdrops). The Argyrodes lives in the web of the orb weaver rent-free, snacking on any prey too small to be noticed by the big spider.”

Beauties and sorrows

As the sun set, Radomir Jakubowski felt the magic of an Italian stone pine forest. “I love the silence of this forest and the sound of the ocean waves running through it,’ he said. He had visited the spot many times hoping for these conditions.

Often planted as a windbreak against the onshore breeze, evergreen forests can be a refuge from the heat for animals. Most pine species are fire-adapted but it’s uncertain whether they can survive the growing threat of wildfires resulting from new climate extremes.

As a conservation volunteer and wildlife photographer, Nejib Ahmed was asked to help when a tiger emerged from near the Orang National Park in Assam, India, and found itself in a field with 100 or so people. The tiger panicked and so did the villagers, shouting and throwing stones.

India has some 65% of the world’s wild tigers. Lack of natural prey and the temptation of livestock lures them onto farmland. Showing locals how best to tackle such situations and offering payment for livestock loss are critical.

After several weeks of searching, Isaac Szabo found this river chub’s nest in Whitetop Laurel Creek, Virginia. Lying in the stream, he could just make out an orange glow, and as he approached, colorful fish appeared out of the haze.

During spring spawning, male chubs carry rocks and pebbles sometimes as far as 33 feet to form a mound among which its eggs can be laid, sheltered from currents and predators. These nests are also important for other minnow species, which rely on them to keep their eggs safe.

Having spent the previous night at the foot of the slope, Luca Melcarne awaited the arrival of the black grouse just before light. His accurate anticipation of the best angle allowed him to catch the grouse’s wings spread wide against the sunrise, with light filtering through their narrow bands of white.

Not expecting the action to come so close to his vehicle in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, David Lloyd had attached a long lens to his camera. As the animals thrashed about, he struggled to keep them both in frame and create the composition.

Though spotted hyenas are most often observed scavenging, they are accomplished clan hunters, capable of chasing prey over long distances and killing a considerable proportion of the food they consume.

Bertie Gregory took two month-long expeditions into the Antarctic Peninsula searching for orcas. After battling high winds and freezing conditions, he captured this remarkable behavior with his drone.

These orcas belong to a group that specializes in hunting seals by charging towards the ice, creating a wave that washes the seal into the water. The bubbles are thought to be part of the way they communicate with each other to form these waves.

With rising temperatures melting ice floes, seals like this Weddell seal, are spending more time on land, and the behaviour of ‘wave washing’ may disappear.

The impact of an image

This image is one in a portfolio entitled ‘The Ancient Mariner’, a series of images of the endangered tri-spine horseshoe crabs, entered to the competition’s Portfolio Award, that won Laurent Ballesta his second Wildlife Photographer of the Year Grand Title award.

Ballesta’s dive assistant spotted a double trail in the soft mud and moved quickly to track this pair preparing to mate. The female lays thousands of eggs on the shore, where they are fertilized by the male.

By documenting these extraordinary animals — barely changed for 100 million years — as they scuttle through the warm waters, feeding, mating and even being home to other animals, Ballesta has shown them in an entirely new light.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *