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These are the Best Wildlife Photos of 2017

The prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is now in its 53rd year, and this year’s edition saw nearly 50,000 entries from 92 different countries.

You’ve already seen a snapshot of some of the finalists, but last night the winners were announced at an awards ceremony in the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

There are 13 categories in the competition, with 2 overall prizes: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Without further ado, here are the awarded images this year:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winner

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winners
Brent Stirton / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The winning image, taken by South African photographer Brent Stirton, is sure to shock more than a few people, but it’s an image that will hopefully make a real difference to the plight of the black rhino. An animal which is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, the black rhino needs all the public attention it can get.

Taken as part of an undercover investigation into the illegal trade in rhino horn, Brent’s winning image tells the evocative story of one of the trade’s latest victims – a black rhino bull from South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park. The poachers responsible are thought to have come from a local community, working to order. After entering the reserve illegally, they ambushed the rhino at a waterhole, shooting it dead before fleeing from its mutilated body.

“To make such a tragic scene almost majestic in its sculptural power deserves the highest award. There is rawness, but there is also great poignancy and therefore dignity in the fallen giant,” said competition judge, Roz Kidman Cox. “It’s also symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.”

“Brent’s image highlights the urgent need for humanity to protect our planet and the species we share it with,” said the director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon.

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winner

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winner
Daniel Nelson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Animal Portraits

wildlife photographer of the year winners 2017
Peter Delaney / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Peter Delaney, Ireland/South Africa

Behaviour: Invertebrates

winners wildlife photographer of the year 2017
Justin Gilligan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Justin Gilligan, Australia

Behaviour: Birds

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Gerry Pearce / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Brian Skerry / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Brian Skerry

Behaviour: Mammals

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Tony Wu / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Tony Wu, USA

Earth’s Environments

 Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Laurent Ballesta / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Laurent Ballesta, France

Animals in Their Environment

wildlife photographer of the year winners 2017
Marcio Cabral / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Marcio Cabral, Brazil

Black and White

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Eilo Elvinger / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Eilo Elvinger, Luxembourg

Plants and Fungi

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Dorin Bofan / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Dorin Bofan, Romania

Underwater

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners 2017
Anthony Berberian / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Anthony Berberian, France

Wildlife Photojournalist: Single Image

2017 wildlife photographer of the year winners
Aaron Gekoski / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski, UK/USA

11-14 Years


Ashleigh Scully / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ashleigh Scully, USA

10 Years and Under

wildlife photographer of the year 2017 winners
Ekaterina Bee / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Ekaterina Bee, Italy


The exhibition will open on October 20th, 2017, at the Natural History Museum in London, UK, and will run until May 28th, 2018. You can get tickets on the NHM website.

The next competition opens for entries on Monday 23rd October 2017 — more information is available on the competition website. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London, UK.


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