A photograph of a male mandrill looking up against a black background

The Aplha © Mogens Trolle

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: People's Choice 2020

Voting is now closed for the 2020 People's Choice Award. The winner will be announced on 10 February 2021. 

Lazing lizards, sleeping squirrels, underwater portraits, urban wildlife - explore the stories from this year's competition.


Turtle Time Machine (Thomas Peschak)

Thomas hoped to reflect the bounty and diversity of the seas in decades past with his image of green sea turtles off the coast of the Bahamas.

A photograph taken half underwater, turtles can be seen near the surface and a seagull flies above.

Turtle time machine © Thomas Peschak

Turtles were once abundant in these waters, but habitat loss and human consumption have threatened their survival. Today the species is classified as endangered and conservation efforts are helping to protect the populations.

In the Bahamas, an ecotourism project run by fishermen protects the turtles and attracts them with shellfish scraps for tourists to see.


The Last Goodbye (Ami Vitale)

Ami's heartbreaking image shows Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left in the world, moments before he passed away at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in northern Kenya.

Sudan spent his last years surrounded by armed guards who protected him and his two female companions 24 hours a day. Poachers, who receive a high price for rhino horn, have decimated rhino populations across Africa. 

A photograph of a rhino laying on the floor. A man crouches next to it and rests his head on the head of the rhino.

The Last Goodbye © Ami Vitale

Bushfire (Robert Irwin)

Robert's striking image is a reminder of the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia. 

The area pictured, near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, is an area of high conservation significance with over 30 different ecosystems and many endangered species. 

An aerial photograph of a forest with a line of fire through the middle, on one side the forest is green and on the other it is blackened and burnt.

Bushfire © Robert Irwin

The fires, which are often lit deliberately to flush out wild pigs for hunting, can burn out of control and cause destruction and devastation to huge areas.


Life Saver (Sergio Marijuán Campuzano)

While Iberian lynx populations are increasing, so too are their interactions with humans, and urban areas are continually encroaching into lynx territories.

A photograph of a lynx emerging from a tunnel which has been built beneath a busy highway

Life Saver © Sergio Marijuán Campuzano

In 2019, over 34 lynx were run over on Spanish roads. Three days before Sergio took this photo, a two-year-old female lost her life not far from this spot.

In an effort to combat this growing mortality, Spain has increased construction of under-road tunnels which act as a lifeline and allow wildlife to cross man-made borders without risking contact with humans.


License to Kill (Britta Jaschinski)

This zebra head was confiscated at a border point in the USA, most likely because the traveller was not able to show proof that it was killed with a license. 

A photograph of a zebra head in a shopping trolley

License to kill © Britta Jaschinski

The use of a shopping trolley to transport the wild animal's head caught Britta's eye, leading her to question: wildlife or commodity?

Wildlife products continue to be traded both legally and illegally despite the suffering and long-term threats that this causes to animal populations. 


A Special Moment (Oliver Richter)

European beavers play a vital role in sustaining ecosystems as they rearrange and redesign landscapes, often creating vital habitats for many different species.

A photo of a family of beavers at a riverbank

A special moment © Oliver Richter

Oliver has observed these beavers, near his home in Saxony, Germany, for many years.

His image shows a family of beavers at the water's edge and reflects the love and care that adult beavers show towards their young.


Coexistence (Pallavi Prasad Laveti)

This playful image shows an Asian palm civet kitten peeping out from its hiding place in a remote village in India. 

A photo of an Asian palm civet kitten peeping out from its hiding place in a remote village in India.

Coexistence © Pallavi Prasad Laveti

Although this kitten was orphaned, some might consider it lucky as it lives a carefree life among the company of locals who 'live and let live'.

In other parts of the world civets are used in the production of kopi luwak coffee which sees them kept in cramped, unsanitary battery cages and force-fed a diet of coffee beans.


Backstage at the Circus (Kirsten Luce)

Kirsten Luce's image shows in stark reality the conditions in which performing animals are kept. These brown bears are part of a circus in St Petersburg, forced to perform each night. 

A photograph of three bears chained up against a wall with a keeper standing opposite them

Backstage at the circus © Kirsten Luce

For bears to learn to walk on their hind legs, they are chained by the neck to a wall from a young age to strengthen their leg muscles.

Hundreds of bears live in captivity in this part of the world, forced to dance or perform as part of travelling circuses.


The Real Garden Gnomes (Karine Aigner)

These Florida burrowing owls have taken up residence in one of the multimillion-dollar neighbourhoods of Marco Island, Florida, USA.

A photograph of a group of burrowing owls standing on a lawn while a car drives along the street behind them

The real garden gnomes © Karine Aigner

The owls dig their burrows underground, often in the carefuly maintained lawns of their human neighbours.

Karine's image is a welcome reminder that the spaces we inhabit, however urban, are shared. 


Baby on the Rocks (Frédéric Larrey)

The Tibetan Plateau is a veritable haven for snow leopards, who are hunted and threatened with habitat loss elsewhere in the world. Here, prey is plentiful, and hunters are few. 

A photo of a snow leopard cub waiting in the safety of the rocks for its mother

Baby on the rocks © Frédéric Larrey

Frédéric's image shows a snow leopard cub waiting in the safety of the rocks for its mother to return from hunting. At only six months old, the cub would spend most of its time learning from its mother and copying her movements. 


Bring the exhibition home

You can see all of this year's People's Choice images, alongside the other photos from the competition in the 2020 Highlights book