The winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 56 competition have just been announced, and the pictures are as stunning as always.
Selected from over 49,000 entries from around the world, they were revealed during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum, London on 13 October.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and patron of the museum, announced Sergey Gorshkov as this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his magnificent image, The Embrace, of an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir in the Russian Far East. Amur, or Siberian, tigers are only found in this region and the Russian photographer took more than 11 months to capture this moment with hidden cameras.
Gorshkov’s shot and the rest of the winners were selected from a shortlist of 100 images and will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London before embarking on a UK and international tour.
Animal Portraits Highly Commended: “Night Hunter” By Jonas Classon
Chair of the judging panel, renowned writer and editor, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox said in a statement that Gorshkov’s photo depicts a scene like no other. “A unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest. Shafts of low winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in obvious ecstasy and inhales the scent of tiger on resin, leaving her own mark as her message. It’s also a story told in glorious color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness.”
Animals In Their Environment Adult Grand Title Winner: “The Embrace” By Sergey Gorshkov
Dr. Tim Littlewood, Natural History Museum’s Executive Director of Science and jury member, added, “Hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century, the Amur population is still threatened by poaching and logging today. The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts. Through the unique emotive power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to protect it.”
Behaviour: Mammals Highly Commended: “Kids’ Game” By Yossi Eshbol
The panel of experts went through a rigorous process of analyzing the images from both professional and amateur photographers as all of the finalists did an excellent job capturing the world’s richest habitats, fascinating animal behaviors and extraordinary species.
But the show must go on. Open to photographers of all ages, nationalities, and abilities, the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday, 19 October 2020. Also, important new categories focusing on people’s impact on the planet, and the new jury have just been announced.
Associate sponsors for the upcoming exhibition at the Natural History Museum are renewable energy company, Ørsted, and legendary camera manufacturer, Leica.