People’s Choice Award
Igniting curiosity about the natural world through the power of photography, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the longest-running and most prestigious competition of its kind. The competition is a vital part of the Natural History Museum’s mission to inspire a love for the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet.

HAMMERHEAD
Image by Adriana Basques, Brazil/USA
Scalloped hammerhead sharks are generally found in the deep waters off Cocos Island, Costa Rica, where the currents are fierce and the visibility unpredictable. Adriana had the advantage of a sunny day with ample natural lighting. It did not take long before a hammerhead appeared, giving Adriana enough time to capture a full frame with the school of cottonmouths in the background.

ELEGANT MOTHER AND CALF
Image by Ray Chin, Taiwan
Ray encountered this humpback mother and calf peacefully floating in the plankton-filled water around the island group of Vava‘u, Tonga. After Ray gently approached them, the giants swam a bit closer to have a look at him. While they made this elegant turn, Ray took the shot. He later converted the image into black and white which he felt represented the simplicity of the scene.

WARNING WINGS
Image by Mike Harterink, Netherlands
Diving off the Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean; Mike used a slow shutter speed to capture the motion of this “flying” gurnard. The fins are usually held against its body but, when threatened, the fish expands them to scare away predators.

CLEANING SESSION
Image by Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain
The protected waters around Carall Bernat of Medes Islands, Spain, are admired for their marine diversity. Jordi knows of an area where sunfish visit in the spring to be cleaned by Mediterranean rainbow wrasses. Jordi was able to approach and take a shot while the wrasses went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish are commonly afflicted with.

LAND OF SNOW AND ICE
Image by Josh Anon, USA
Josh was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen in Svalbard, Norway, and encountered this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice. She was curious, walking past the boat twice, and just long enough for Josh to take a shot with her white coat glowing in the setting sun. After satisfying her curiosity, she silently walked off into the distance.

GROOMING THE
DESCENDANT
Image by Claudio
Contreras Koob,Mexico
This fluffy Caribbean flamingo chick is less than five days old and is being preened by one of its parents in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in Yucatán, Mexico. The flamingo colony is highly sensitive to human presence, so Claudio could only approach the colony on all fours while hiding underneath a camo throw-over.

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Image: BBC Earth