40+ Best Wildlife Photos Of 2018 Have Just Been Announced

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The wait is over. Everyone who was enjoying 2017, 2016 and 51 earlier ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ (WPY) competitions has just received this year’s biggest treat. London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of the 2018 contest, and the images reveal the abundance, beauty, resilience and vulnerability of life on Earth.

The winning photos were chosen from more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of the natural world. The international jury awarded the grand title to Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten for his shot, titled “The Golden Couple.” The breathtaking picture features a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains. “It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished,” Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, said in a press release. “It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world.” Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this particular part of China, and their numbers are steadily decreasing, mainly because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.

“As we were going through the entries, we just kept coming back to this one,” Roz Kidman Coz added. “It’s almost like a stage set. I think what makes it are the colours and the lighting. These monkeys normally feed in the trees, but somehow Marsel’s managed to catch them on the ground, and he’s carefully thrown a very gentle flash on to the scene to illuminate that amazing fur.”

The photographer told BBC News he was “shocked and honoured” to receive the award. “I am happy that it is with this particular image because it is an endangered species and one that very few people even know exists and it is important that we realise that there are a lot of species on this planet that are under threat.”

Scroll down to check out the winning images from both the adult competition (16 categories) and the young awards (10 years and under, 11–14 years old and 15–17 years old).

More info: nhm.ac.uk

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As the group of Qinling golden snub-nosed monkeys jumped from tree to tree, Marsel struggled to keep up, slipping and stumbling over logs. Gradually he learned to predict their behaviour, and captured this male and female resting. With the Sun filtering through the canopy, they are bathed in a magical light, their golden hair glowing against the fresh greens of the forest.

This pair belongs to a subspecies of golden snub-nosed monkey restricted to the Qinling Mountains. Among the most striking primates in the world, these monkeys are in danger of disappearing. Their numbers have steadily declined over the decades and there are now fewer than 4,000 individuals left.

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Notoriously shy and elusive, the resident leopards of the Mashatu Game Reserve are hard to spot. But this time Skye was in luck. After tracking the leopards for a few hours, he came across Mathoja – a well-known female. In a fleeting moment, just before the leopard nodded off, Skye captured a peaceful portrait of this majestic creature.

Named by local guides, Mathoja means ‘the one that walks with a limp’ – a title given to her after a serious leg injury as a cub. Although her chances of survival were slim, Mathoja is now a healthy adult. She is one of the lucky ones – this species has been classed as vulnerable and many leopards are illegally hunted for their highly desirable skins.

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The sea was relatively calm when Cristobal launched his drone from a small rubber dinghy in the Errera Channel of the Antarctic Peninsula. Rising above the sea, the drone revealed a small ice floe spilling over with crabeater seals. Part of the ice was splattered red with their excrement – the digested remains of their favourite food, krill.

Crabeater seals are gregarious, and if space allows they will cluster on ice floes in their hundreds. The seals are dependent on the ice – they rest and breed on top of it, but also feed on the krill that shelter underneath. As a result, a decline in sea ice not only strips these seals of places to haul themselves out of the water but also threatens the availability of their food supply.

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