People's Choice Award

Publikumsprisen i fotokonkurrencen
Wildlife Photographer of the Year

VINDEREN ER FUNDET Den internationale fotokonkurrence Wildlife Photographer of the Year er verdens største af sin slags, og i år kan de 100 bedste billeder af natur og dyreliv opleves på Statens Naturhistoriske Museum. Ud over de udstillede billeder valgt af en professionel jury, udpeger Natural History Museum i London yderligere 25 billeder til en global offentlig afstemning, og vinderen af den eftertragtede publikumspris, People's Choice Award, er nu fundet.


Det blev den italienske fotograf Cristiano Vendramin, som løb af med publikumsprisen i Wildlife Photographer of the Year med sit fotografi af en iskold sø dedikeret til en afdød ven. Cristianos forevigelse af Santa Croce-søen frosset i tid, rørte mere end 31.800 dyre- og naturentusiaster verden over, som stemte på hans betagende landskab. Få historien bag Cristianos vinderbillede nedenfor og se de nominerede, der lå blandt publikums top fem favoritter.

Følg med i samtalen på sociale medier via #WPY57 #WPYPeoplesChoice.

Lake of ice
'Lake of ice' / 'Sø af is' af Cristiano Vendramin, Italien ©
VINDER af People's Choice Award

Santa Croce Lake er en naturlig sø beliggende i provinsen Belluno, Italien. I vinteren 2019 bemærkede Cristiano, at vandet stod usædvanligt højt, og piletræerne var delvist nedsænket, hvilket skabte et spil af lys og refleksioner. Han fangede scenen i iskold stilhed. Efter at have taget billedet, blev han mindet om en kær ven, som havde elsket dette sted og nu ikke længere er i blandt os. "Jeg vil gerne tro, at han fik mig til at føle denne følelse, som jeg aldrig vil glemme. Af denne grund er dette fotografi dedikeret til ham," siger Cristiano.


Dancing in the snow
'Dancing in the snow' af Qiang Guo, Kina ©
Blandt publikums top fem favoritter til People's Choice Award

I Lishan-naturreservatet i Shanxi-provinsen, Kina, så Qiang på, mens to guldfasan-hanner konstant byttede plads på denne stamme - deres bevægelser lignede en stille dans i sneen. Fuglene er hjemmehørende i Kina, hvor de bor i tætte skove i bjergrige områder. Selvom de er farvestrålende, er de generte og svære at få øje på, og de tilbringer det meste af deres tid med at lede efter føde på den mørke skovbund og flyver kun for at undslippe rovdyr eller for at hvile i meget høje træer om natten.


The eagle and the bear

'The eagle and the bear' af Jeroen Hoekendijk, Holland ©
Blandt publikums top fem favoritter til People's Choice Award

Sortbjørneunger klatrer ofte i træer, hvor de venter trygt på, at deres mor vender tilbage med mad. Her, i dybet af den tempererede regnskov i Anan i Alaska, besluttede denne lille unge sig for at tage en eftermiddagslur på en mosbeklædt gren under en ung ørns vagtsomme øje. Ørnen havde siddet i dette fyrretræ i timevis, og Jeroen fandt situationen ekstraordinær. Han satte sig hurtigt for at fange scenen i øjenhøjde og var med lidt besvær og en masse held i stand til at placere sig lidt højere på bakken og tage dette billede, mens bjørnen sov videre, uvidende.


Shelter from the rain
'Shelter from the rain' af Ashleigh McCord, USA ©
Blandt publikums top fem favoritter til People's Choice Award

Under et besøg i Maasai Mara, Kenya, fangede Ashleigh dette ømme øjeblik mellem et par hanløver. Først havde hun kun fokuseret på at tage billeder af den ene løve i støvregnen. Den anden løve havde kortvarigt henvendt sig og hilst på sin ledsager, inden han valgte at gå væk. Men da regnen forvandlede sig til et kraftigt regnskyl, vendte han tilbage og satte sig og placerede sin krop som for at beskytte sin ledsager. Kort efter gned de ansigter og blev ved med at sidde og nusse i nogen tid. Ashleigh blev ved med at se på dem, indtil regnen faldt så hårdt, at de knap var synlige.


Hope in a burned plantation
'Hope in a burned plantation' af Jo-Anne McArthur, Canada ©
Blandt publikums top fem favoritter til People's Choice Award

Jo-Anne fløj til Australien i begyndelsen af 2020 for at dokumentere historierne om dyr, der blev ramt af de ødelæggende skovbrande, der fejede gennem staterne New South Wales og Victoria. Hun arbejdede utrætteligt sammen med dyrebeskyttelsesorganisationen Animals Australia og fik adgang til afbrændingssteder, redningsaktioner og veterinærmissioner. Denne grå kænguru og hendes unge afbilledet nær Mallacoota, Victoria, var blandt de heldige. Kænguruen tog knap øjnene fra Jo-Anne, da hun roligt gik tættere på for at få et godt billede. Hun havde lige tid nok til at læne sig ned og trykke på udløseren, før kænguruen hoppede væk ind i den afbrændte eukalyptusplantage.


The Jump
The jump by Karl Samitsch, Austria ©

Karl was in the Cairngorms, Scotland, with a friend who took him to a forest where red squirrels were used to being fed. They placed hazelnuts on opposite branches of two trees and Karl then positioned his camera on a tripod between the branches facing the direction a squirrel might jump. Setting his camera to automatic focus, he waited in camouflage gear behind a tree, holding a remote control. After less than an hour, two squirrels appeared. As they leapt between the branches, he used the high-speed burst mode on his camera, and of the 150 frames, four were sharp, and this one perfectly captured the moment.


Peek a boo
Peek a boo by Michiel Van Noppen, The Netherlands ©

Michiel took this photo of Dantita, as she is fondly known, 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. But due to threats from deforestation and hunting, there are estimated to be only 6,000 individuals left in the wild. Conservation groups such as Proyecto 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.


Monkey cuddle
Monkey cuddle by Zhang Qiang, China ©

Zhang was visiting China’s Qinling Mountains to observe the behaviour of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey. The mountains' temperate forests are the endangered monkeys’ only habitat, which in itself is under threat from forest disturbance. Zhang loves to watch the dynamics of the family group – how close and friendly they are to each other. And when it is time to rest, the females and young huddle together for warmth and protection. This image perfectly captures that moment of intimacy. The young monkey’s unmistakable blue face nestled inbetween two females, their striking golden-orange fur dappled in light.


All together
All together by Ly Dang, USA ©

The Clark’s grebes on Ly’s local lake in San Diego, California, USA, hadn’t nested for a few years, and he wasn’t sure if the unusually hot and dry weather they’d been experiencing was to blame. Then in 2017 California had twice its normal annual rainfall. With the lakes full, the grebes started to build nests and lay eggs again. They build floating nests at the edge of shallow water among the reeds or rushes. The chicks hitch a cosy ride on a parent’s back soon after hatching. This picture was taken a few days after a storm which sadly washed away almost all of the grebes nests. Ly had been out on a boat for hours, scanning the surface, looking for grebes and, just as the light was fading, he spotted them, the survivors.


Barracudas
Barracudas by Yung Sen Wu, Taiwan ©

It was the schooling barracudas at Blue Corner, Palau, in the western Pacific, that grabbed Yung’s attention while diving in the turquoise seascape. He had been swimming with them for four days, but their formation constantly changed shape and he could not find the perfect angle. On the fifth day his luck changed when the fish seemed to accept him into the group. Surrounded by the barracudas, he started to imagine how one fish sees another while swimming, and this was the picture he wanted. The fish were fast, and he had to swim hard to keep his place in the school. At the end of an exhausting 50 minutes, he got his perfect 'fish eye' view.


Blackbird backyard
Blackbird backyard by Jan Leßmann, Germany ©

Jan took great pleasure in watching this blackbird from his front door, in his home-town of Greifswald, Germany. It was spring and the blackbird had chosen an old garden hut in which to build her nest. Quietly and secretly she raised her young in this garden idyll. With this image Jan wanted to highlight that we don’t have to go far to experience the beauty of nature – sometimes something as simple as a blackbird making her home in a rundown hut is enough.


Breath of an Arctic fox
Breath of an Arctic fox by Marco Gaiotti, Italy ©

Marco was watching this little Arctic fox as it incessantly called another nearby. Gradually he noticed the fox’s wet breath was quickly freezing in the air after each call. It was late winter in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, and the cold arctic air was -35°C (-31°F). Photographing arctic foxes is often frustrating, as they are normally running around fast in search of food, but this one was very relaxed and let Marco get close enough to focus on it, with the light glowing perfectly in the background.


Stay close
Stay close by Maxime Aliaga, France ©

Taking care of a young orangutan requires a lot of energy. Maxime spent more than one hour observing this mother in the Pinus Jantho Nature Reserve of Sumatra, Indonesia, trying to keep her excitable baby with her in the nest. Since 2011 the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program has released more than 120 confiscated apes into the reserve. Their goal is to establish new wild populations as a safety net against decline. This mother, Marconi, was once held captive as an illegal pet, but was nursed back to health and released in 2011. In 2017 she was spotted with a wild born baby, Masen, a symbol of hope for the future population.


Working together
Working together by Minghui Yuan, China ©

There were several big trees near Minghui’s hotel in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden in Yunnan Province, China, and he’d noticed green tree ants on the trunks and was fascinated by their behaviour. This species of ant builds its nest in the tree crown, are ferocious by nature and good at catching all kinds of insects. One morning Minghui noticed a group of ants working together in perfect unity to restrain a green katydid. These remarkable ants don’t always kill, they have been observed ‘farming’ certain types of insects, including leaf hoppers. The ants offer leaf hoppers protection from predators and parasites so that they can feed on the sweet sap the leaf hoppers excrete.


The ice bear cometh
The ice bear cometh… by Andy Skillen, UK ©

It is 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. It was averaging around -30°C (-22°F) and Andy had been waiting and hoping that one particular female bear would use this log to cross the stream. Eventually she did just that and he got the picture he’d envisioned – her fur, wet from fishing, had frozen into icicles and ‘you could hear them tinkle as she walked past’.


Building an egg case
Building an egg case by Javier Aznar González de Rueda by Spain ©

While out on a night walk in the Amazon rainforest near Tena, Ecuador, Javier spotted this little female thorned heart orb weaver spider delicately constructing her egg case. Hanging from a strong silk thread, these female spiders spend hours encasing their eggs in a silken cocoon, which may contain up to several hundred eggs. On this dark night, the egg case resembled a pearly white full moon.


Bonds of love
Bonds of love by Peter Delaney, Ireland / South Africa ©

Peter looked on as a herd of elephants closed ranks, pushing their young into the middle of the group for protection. A bull elephant had been trying to separate a newborn calf from its mother. Peter was photographing the herd in Addo Elephant Reserve, South Africa, when the newborn let out a shriek. The herd reacted instantly – blowing loud calls, flapping ears and then surrounding the young and reaching out their trunks for reassurance. Elephants create bonds that last a lifetime, and they can show emotions from love to anger. Peter feels ‘There is something magical and beautiful when you observe elephants – it touches your soul and pulls at your heartstrings.’


Jaguar of ashes
Jaguar of ashes by Ernane Junior, Brazil ©

The year 2020 saw fires in Brazil's Pantanal wetlands more than double compared to the year before – ‘a year never to be forgotten’ says Ernane. More than 26 per cent of the total area was affected, and the situation in Encontros das Águas State Park was even worse, with roughly 80 per cent burnt. The park is known for its large jaguar population and Ernane was there documenting the fires when this jaguar and his brother crossed the Rio Três Irmãos (Three Brothers River) nearby. After reaching the opposite bank, the jaguar rolled in the ash left behind by the desolation of days before, leaving only his face uncovered, his now black body mirroring his charred surroundings.


Hitching a ride
Hitching a ride by Wim van den Heever, South Africa ©

A female giant anteater was foraging around a huge open plain very late one afternoon in the Pantanal, Brazil, when Wim suddenly noticed she had a youngster on her back. He instinctively grabbed his camera and slowly crept up to a termite mound in the distance, which was in the general direction she was moving in. Sitting quietly he waited for her to make her way over. But the light was fading quickly, and he began to wonder if he’d have time to capture the scene. After waiting quite some time – anteaters walk slowly – and holding some very heavy camera equipment, Wim was rewarded for his patience.


Meercats put on a pose
Meercats put on a pose by Thomas Peschak, Germany / South Africa ©

This group of meerkats in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa has been habituated to humans for over a decade, and is very relaxed around people. In fact, they mostly completely ignored Thomas’s presence, being way too preoccupied with lounging, hunting, grooming and fighting. He was therefore 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 used for people in a portrait session, and used studio lights to photograph them.


Life in black and white
Life in black and white by Lucas Bustamante, Ecuador ©

Dozens of plains zebra had showed up to drink at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia – a popular location for the animals of the area to quench their thirst caused by the searing heat of the sun. Packed closely together and moving as one, the zebra lowered their heads to get water and, almost immediately, robotically lifted them again to scan for danger. This went on for five minutes and their stripes reminded Lucas of a living barcode. Focusing hard, his aim was to capture only one with its head up and, just before the herd left, he got the image he thinks best showcases these iconic black-and-white striped animals.


The future in her hands
The future in her hands by Joan de la Malla, Spain ©

Due to overexploitation – industrial logging and land clearing for plantation development – the rainforests of Borneo are disappearing fast. Because of this, endemic species like the orangutan are suffering and dying because of habitat loss and are under serious threat. International Animal Rescue conducts the laudable task of rehabilitating orphaned or injured orangutans. They give them the health care they need and prepare them for reintroduction, when possible. Here, in a forest enclosure, a keeper takes care of babies – they are encouraged to mix with others of a similar age, make nests and forage for food.


Dolphin hug
Dolphin hug by Jaime Rojo, Spain ©

Jaime 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.


Lynx cub licking
Lynx cub licking by Antonio Liebana Navarro, Spain ©

Iberian lynx are one of the world’s most endangered cats due to habitat loss, decreasing food sources, car hits and illegal hunting. But thanks to conservation efforts the species is recovering and can be found in small areas of Portugal and Spain. Antonio captured this image while leading a conservation project based around photography in Peñalajo, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. He knew a family of lynx used this waterhole to drink, so he rigged up a hide close by. Focusing on this cub, he was lucky enough to capture the moment it lifted its head from the water, licked its lips and gazed straight into the camera.


Living together
Living together by Dhritiman Mukherjee, India ©

For Dhritiman, Bhutan is an amazing place. He loves how most of the people try to live together with nature. Satyr tragopans, a rare species of Asian pheasant, are widely hunted for food and plumage, and are normally skittish and very shy. But in this village near Punakha, the birds appear at ease and perfectly relaxed in the presence of the people who live there. Before he captured this image, Dhritiman had been trying to photograph the satyr tragopan in India since 2008, but the birds would always run away the minute they spotted him. Upon hearing of communities in Bhutan coexisting harmoniously with the species he knew he had to witness it for himself.