A photograph of a wildflower meadow

Jelly Nanny was highly commended in the 2020 Under Water category 

© Songda Cai

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: celebrating the variety of life on Earth

From bright coral seas teeming with life to dense jungles full of interdependent plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, the biodiversity of our planet is incredible.

Each year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year highlights the beauty of the natural world and encourages visitors to foster a personal connection with the world around them.

Explore some of the richest habitats the planet has to offer and discover the beauty and abundance of life on Earth with this gallery of images. 


Wolf Mountain - Lorenzo Shoubridge

Wolf populations across the Alps have been on the rise in recent years, despite the uneasy welcome from some of their human neighbours who fear for the wellbeing of local livestock.

A photograph of a pack of wolves crossing a rocky mountain pass at night

Wolf Mountain was highly commended in the 2020 Animals in their Environment category

© Lorenzo Shoubridge

Far from being a danger to the region's biome, wolves actually play a vital role in the ecosystem. They prey on large herbivores such as deer, thus allowing vegetation to grow.

Lorenzo spent six months finding the perfect spot to photograph this pack of wolves in front of their mountain backdrop. His atmospheric image illustrates how at home the wolves are in the Alps.


Bear Territory - Marc Graf

Marc Graf's beautiful portrait shows a young brown bear enjoying the sunrise over the dense forests of Notranjska Regional Park in Slovenia. 

A photograph of a brown bear leaning against a rock in a forest high up a mountain

Bear Territory was highly commended in the 2018 Animals in Their Environment category

© Marc Graf

Brown bears are cautious of humans and rely on thickly forested landscapes, where humans rarely stray, to survive. Marc had to wait 14 months for the scent to wear off his camera trap before the bears would feel comfortable approaching it.

Despite decades of deforestation and habitat loss, bear populations are slowly beginning to bounce back in Slovenia. Sadly, their habitats are fragmented and neighbouring Austria has very few bears left.


The Disappearing Fish - Iago Leonardo

Along the crystal-clear shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico there are few places to hide, but these lookdown fish have evolved a clever disguise. 

A photograph of two schools of fish, the top half of the fram is filled with translucent fish while the bottom is filled with grey fish

The Disappearing Fish was a finalist in the 2016 Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish category

© Iago Leonardo 

Covered with tiny silver scales the fish reflect the colour of the ocean around them, making them almost invisible to humans and sea creatures alike. Creating a contrast between a shoal of grunt fish and the lookdowns, Iago captures their translucence perfectly.


The Forest Born of Fire - Andrea Pozzi

Andrea's image highlights the majesty of monkey puzzle trees, or Chilean pines, illuminated by the setting Sun. Typically found in parts of Chile and Argentina, these trees can live for more than 1,000 years.

A photograph of a forest with pink hues from the setting sun

The Forest Born of Fire was highly commended in the 2020 Plants and Fungi category

© Andrea Pozzi

Monkey puzzle trees are one example of fauna that have evolved to withstand mild forest fires. Their thick, protective bark and specially adapted buds enable them to survive the scorching summers that are common in this part of the world.

Nevertheless, these trees are now endangered, threatened by land clearance and an increasingly hot and dry climate.


Forest Refuge - Uge Fuertes Sanz

The blooming stonecrops which bring a splash of colour to this forest landscape have adapted to grow on trees, away from the reach of the cows who graze on the forest floor. 

A photograph of yellow moss growing on the branch of a tree in a misty forest

Forest Refuge was highly commended in the 2019 Plants and Fungi category

© Uge Fuertes Sanz

Nature photographer Uge Fuertes Sanz waited until the fog had cleared just enough to see the twisting trunks and branches of the trees in the background.

The laurel forests of Madeira are a surviving example of the ancient forests that once extended across southern Europe and northwestern Africa.


Look Happy or Else - Kirsten Luce

A family pose for a picture with a pair of elephants on Lucky Beach in Thailand. This common sight is just one example of an industry that profits off 'photo-ops' with captive animals

A photograph of a family posing wit two baby elephants on a beach in Thailand

Look Happy or Else was highly commended in the 2020 Wildlife Photojournalism category

© Kirsten Luce

Historically, elephants in Thailand have been used for transport, logging and war, but today they are mainly used as entertainment. These practices have reduced the number of wild elephants in the country to as little as 3,500, with more than 3,000 domesticated for use by humans. 


Tigerland – Emmanuel Rondeau

Emmanuel climbed over 700 metres and set up eight camera traps in the hope of photographing one of Bhutan's 103 wild tigers. 

A photograph of a tiger walking towards the camera in a forest

Tigerland was highly commended in the 2018 Animals in Their Environment category

© Emmanuel Rondeau

His striking image shows a grown tiger marching directly towards one of his cameras within the dense jungle.

Thanks to a growing network of wildlife corridors which connect the national parks in the kingdom, tigers are making a comeback. The population has increased by almost a third since the last count in 1998.


Dawn of the bison – Jasper Doest

European bison were reintroduced to the Netherlands in 2007 after an extensive programme of captive-breeding and re-wilding projects which brought the species back from the brink of extinction in the wild. 

A photograph of a herd of bison surrounded by midges as the sun rises

Dawn of the Bison was a finalist in the 2016 Mammals category

© Jasper Doest

Jasper found this herd cooling off in a lake surrounded by a swarm of midges. The morning Sun rose and cast a golden light over the scene, creating the perfect shot for Jason.

Bison are important players in maintaining healthy and ecologically rich forests and grasslands.


Life in the Coral Corridors – Weiwei Zeng

Demonstrating the acute attention to detail that wildlife photographers require, Weiwei's image shows two tiny shrimp, each just five millimetres long, at home in a large brain coral.

A photograph of two tiny shrimp crawling along the passageway of a brain coral

Life in the Coral Corridors was highly commended in the 2020 Animals in their Environment category

© Weiwei Zeng

Spotted just of the remote island of Romblon, Philippines, these shrimp depend on coral for their shelter, sometimes hooking the soft coral tissue with their legs and drawing it over themselves like curtains.

Sadly, like many species that rely on coral for their survival, their home is threatened by overfishing, warming oceans and ocean acidification.


Entwined Lives – Tim Laman

Part of Tim's photo series, Entwined Lives shows a young male orangutan climbing a 30-metre-high fruit tree in search of food. 

Entwined Lives won the Grand title in 2016

© Tim Laman

Taken in Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo, Tim's image shows one of the few remaining areas of the dense rainforest that is crucial to the survival of this endangered ape. Human demand for palm oil has driven the destruction of these habitats and forced the remaining orangutans into tiny pockets of rainforest.

This selection of images celebrates the diversity of life on our planet and the beauty of the natural world. As habitat destruction continues at a record rate, it is more important than ever to celebrate our home and foster a love for the natural world.