Above: 'Dancing in the snow' by Qiang Guo
Curious meerkats; an elusive tapir; the rescue of an Amazon river dolphin; and a kangaroo and her joey framed by a destructive bush fire. These are just some of the stunning wildlife scenes that have prevailed over 50,000 other images to make the shortlist in the Natural History Museum’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Now you can help decide who will win the People’s Choice Award. You have 25 images to choose from – beginning with the gallery of captivating photographs shown here.
Voting for the People’s Choice Award ends at 14:00 (GMT) on 2 February 2022. The winning image will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London, until 5 June 2022. The top five People’s Choice Award images will also be displayed online, joining the winners of the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition already on exhibition.
Enjoy the full People’s Choice Award shortlist here.
'Dancing in the snow' by Qiang Guo (China) – see image above
In the Lishan Nature Reserve in Shanxi Province, China, Qiang Guo watched as two male golden pheasants continuously swapped places on this trunk, their movements akin to a silent dance in the snow. The birds are native to China, where they inhabit dense forests in mountainous regions. Although brightly coloured, they are shy and difficult to spot, spending most of their time foraging for food on the dark forest floor, only flying to evade predators or to roost in very high trees during the night.
Nikon D5 + 400mm f/2.8 lens; 1/2500 sec at f/2.8; ISO 320
'Peek a boo' by Michiel Van Noppen (Netherlands)
Michiel Van Noppen took this image of ‘Dantita’ at the foothills of Braulio Carrillo National Park, close to San José in central Costa Rica. The Baird’s tapir, or ‘gardeners of the forest’, are extremely important to their natural habitat, with some seeds only germinating after passing through the tapir. Due to threats from deforestation and hunting, there are estimated to now only be some 6,000 individuals left in the wild. Conservation groups such as Project Tapir Nicaragua and Nai Conservation have been set up to work closely with local communities to promote the importance of preserving the land and protecting an endangered species.
Canon EOS 1D X + 16–35mm f/2.8 lens; 1/40 sec at f/7.1; ISO 5000; 2x Yongnuo speedlite yn600ex-rt; Pixel Pawn remote control
'Hope in a burned plantation' by Jo-Anne McArthur (Canada)
Jo-Anne McArthur flew to Australia in early 2020 to document the stories of animals affected by the devastating bushfires sweeping through the states of New South Wales and Victoria. Working alongside Animals Australia, an animal protection organisation, she was given access to burn sites, rescues and veterinary missions. This eastern grey kangaroo and her joey, pictured near Mallacoota, Victoria, were among the lucky ones. The kangaroo barely took her eyes off Jo-Anne as she walked calmly to the spot where she could get a great photograph. She had just enough time to crouch down and press the shutter release before the kangaroo hopped away into the burned eucalyptus plantation.
Nikon D4S + Sigma 120–400mm f/4.5–5.6 lens; 1/500 sec at f5.6; ISO 2500
'The ice bear cometh' by Andy Skillen (UK)
It’s a two-hour helicopter ride from the nearest town to this spot on the Fishing Branch River in Yukon, Canada – a location where the river never freezes however cold it gets. The salmon run occurs in the late autumn here and for the grizzly bears of the area this open water offers a final chance to feast before hibernating. Temperatures were averaging around -30°C (-22°F) and Andy Skillen had been hoping one particular female bear would use this log to cross the stream. Eventually she did and he got the picture he’d envisioned – her fur, wet from fishing, had frozen into icicles. “You could hear them tinkle as she walked past,” noted Skillen.
Canon EOS 1D X + EF 200–400mm f/4 lens with built-in 1.4 extender; 1/250 sec at f/5.6, (+0.6 EV), ISO 800; handheld
'Meerkats put on a pose' by Thomas Peschak (Germany/South Africa)
These meerkats in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa have been habituated to humans for more than a decade, and are relaxed around people. In fact, they mostly completely ignored Thomas Peschak’s presence, being way too preoccupied with lounging, hunting, grooming and fighting. He was able to get in close and use a wide angle lens to include the arid savannah and mountains they call home. To capture the meercats features, he applied techniques and studio light more often used for people in a portrait session.
Nikon D5 + 16–35mm f/4 lens; 1/250 sec at f/16; ISO 200, 2x Profoto B1 flash
'Dolphin hug' by Jaime Rojo (Spain)
Jaime Rojo watched on as Federico Mosquera, a biologist from the Omacha Foundation, Colombia, soothed an Amazon river dolphin. These dolphins are extremely tactile animals and direct contact calms them – keeping them hydrated when out of the water is also extremely important. The team from Omacha and WWF were transporting the dolphin to a temporary veterinarian facility in Puerto Nariño, Colombia, to install a GPS tag in its dorsal fin. The project is part of a broader scientific attempt to understand river dolphin health and migratory patterns. The goal was to tag five individuals, but high waters gave the dolphins a wider roaming range than usual, and the crew struggled, tagging only one during the expedition.
Nikon D5 + 24–70mm f/2.8 lens; 1/800 sec at f/10; ISO 500
Vote here for your favourite image in the People’s Choice Award of the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
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