Against a backdrop of the spectacular mountains of Ladakh, Sascha's carefully positioned camera trap managed to photograph the snow leopard in a perfect pose. Image © Sascha Fonseca.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year: People's Choice 2022

From ruby-eyed frogs and miniature seahorses to playful polar bears and a bird with an itch, this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award showcases some of the world's most captivating snapshots of nature.

Enjoy some of the shortlisted images, discover the stories behind them and don't forget to cast your vote.

Hyena Highway - Sam Rowley

Hyena on the road at night

Sam photographed this spotted hyena wandering the streets of Harar in Ethiopia by setting up a remote camera next to a roadkill carcass. He managed to photograph the lowest-ranking member of the clan after the dominant members, visible in the background, had wandered off.

Spotted hyenas are intelligent and opportunistic animals. On the outskirts of cities like Harar, hyenas take advantage of what humans leave behind, including bones and rotting meat. In so doing, the hyenas keep disease at bay. In exchange, the locals tolerate them, and some will even leave butcher's scraps for them.

Among the Flowers - Martin Gregus

Polar bear sticking its head up above the flowers

Martin watched this polar bear cub playing among the fireweed on the coast of Hudson Bay in Canada. The cub would occasionally take a break from its fun and poke its head above the flowers to look for its mother.

Wanting to see the world from the cub's angle, Martin placed his camera at ground level in an underwater housing for protection against investigating bears. He then waited patiently a safe distance away with a remote trigger. Martin then had to judge the moment when the bear would pop up into the camera frame to get the perfect shot.

That's the Spot! - Richard Flack

A guinea fowl scratching the head of another who has an open mouth

In South Africa's Kruger National Park, Richard discovered a flock of crested guineafowl that were not as flighty as usual and allowed him to follow them as they foraged.

One of the guineafowl started to scratch another's head and ear. The recipient stood there motionless for a few moments with its mouth open and eyes wide as if to say, 'that's the spot'. Richard muses, 'It's not often you get to witness emotion in the faces of birds . . . but there was no doubt – that was one satisfied guineafowl!'

Fishing for Glass Eels - Eladio Fernandez

Fishermen at night time with nets hovered above the water

Eladio spent many nights trying to catch the precise moment these fishermen raised their nets out of the incoming waves.

On the coast of the Dominican Republic, hundreds of fishermen gather around the estuaries from dawn to dusk for five months to catch juvenile American eels.

Eladio set out to highlight the plight of these endangered eels, exported in the millions each year to fulfil a predominantly Japanese demand. The USA's fishery is now tightly controlled, leaving the Caribbean to take over as a major exporter without regulations.

The Frog with the Ruby Eyes - Jaime Culebras

Frog on a leaf with sparkling ruby eyes

Captivated by this frog's beautiful 'ruby' eyes, Jamie carefully moved his camera equipment to be close enough to take a portrait that would highlight them.

These enchanted frogs are only found in the Río Manduriacu Reserve in northwest Ecuador in the foothills of the Andes mountains. They are endangered due to habitat loss associated with mining and logging.

Covid Litter - Auke-Florian Hiemstra

Medical glove with a fish caught in the thumb

This young perch was found trapped in the thumb of a discarded surgical glove by citizen scientists during a canal clean-up in Leiden, The Netherlands. The spines on its back prevented the fish from escaping, the torn thumb a likely sign of its final struggle.

Since the onslaught of COVID-19, gloves and face masks have littered land and sea. This glove formed the basis of a scientific study documenting the range of animals impacted by waste from the pandemic. Sadly, in this case, the material that helped protect us has proved to be a danger to wildlife.

Life and Art - Eduardo Blanco Mendizabal

A graffiti drawing of a cat on a wall with a live gecko above it. Making it look like the graffiti cat is looking at the gecko.

Walking down a street in his hometown of Corella in northern Spain, Eduardo came across a wall with a graffiti cat.

Knowing that common wall geckos emerge on hot summer nights to look for mosquitoes and other insects, Eduardo returned with his camera. He waited patiently for the perfect picture – the unsuspecting hunter becoming prey to the cat.

Fox Affection - Brittany Crossman

foxes in the snow with one snuggled up to the other

On a chilly day on Prince Edward Island, Canada, Brittany spotted this pair of red foxes greeting one another with an intimate nuzzle.

The red fox's mating season is in the winter, and it is not uncommon to see them together before denning. This special moment is one of Brittany's favourite images and one of the tenderest moments she has witnessed between adult foxes.

A Tight Grip - Nicholas More

A photo og a red spotty seahorse clinging to a sea fan in the dark ocean

Nicholas had the help of a guide, who knew exactly where off the coast of Bali and on which sea fans to find the beautiful Bargibant's seahorse. This individual was one of three on the same pink sea fan, gripping tightly with his prehensile tail.

Bargibant's seahorses are barely visible due to their tiny size of one to two centimetres tall and their tendency to stay very still. Their ability to mimic their host's colours and knobbly texture is only revealed in detail under high magnification.

World of the Snow Leopard - Sascha Fonseca

A snow leaopard high up on a mountain top with the mountain range extending behind it.

Sascha captured this rare image of a snow leopard during a three-year bait-free camera-trap project high up in the Indian Himalayas.

He has always been fascinated by snow leopards because of their incredible stealth and remote environment, making them one of the most difficult large cats to photograph in the wild.

Thick snow blankets the ground, but the big cat's dense coat and furry footpads keep it warm. Against a backdrop of the spectacular mountains of Ladakh, Sascha's carefully positioned camera trap managed to photograph the snow leopard in a perfect pose.

Step into the judging room

Help us choose the next winner of the People's Choice Award. Voting closes on 2 February 2023. Make sure to have your say.