Mama’s back by Ashleigh Scully (USA), Wildlife Photographer of the Year


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Entries now open for Natural History Museum’s renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

For the fifty-seventh year, the Natural History Museum’s acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has opened for entries from photographers of all ages and abilities. Spanning all corners of our jaw-dropping natural world, the global competition is a celebration of the rich diversity of life on our planet.

  • The world’s oldest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition
  • A global showcase for nature photography and photojournalism
  • The 2020 competition marks its fifty-seventh year
  • Open to photographers of all ages, nationalities and abilities
  • Opened for entries on Monday 19 October 2020
  • Closing on Thursday 10 December at 11.30am GMT

The results of the fifty-sixth competition were just revealed during an online awards ceremony broadcast live from the Museum to viewers around the world. 

In this year’s Grand Title winner The embrace by Russian Sergey Gorshkov, the environmental and human threats posed to the rare Amur tiger are highlighted in a majestic scene. Lina Heikinnen from Finland was awarded the Young Grand Title prize for The fox that got the goose. Liina is the youngest of a family of wildlife photographers and has entered the prestigious competition for years with her parents and brothers. 

With 16 categories that appeal to a wide range of interests and approaches, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has added new categories ‘Wetlands’, ‘Oceans’ and ‘Natural Artistry’ to this year’s adult competition. It is hoped that these changes will further inspire entries with a strong environmental message as their focus. Tied to the Natural History Museum’s mission, the annual competition proves an important platform to raise awareness for the issues that face our natural world as well as the stories and species close to photographers’ hearts.

New to this year’s judging panel, Dr Natalie Cooper, an evolutionary biologist and researcher at the Natural History Museum, says ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an amazing opportunity to celebrate the diversity of species on our planet, and the images never fail to amaze. The categories cover such a wide range of topics, from animal behaviours to photojournalism, there’s always something new to be seen and learned from them. I’m particularly glad to see the new categories which will hopefully highlight how fragile our ecosystems are and encourage more people to engage with conservation initiatives.’  

This year’s esteemed judging panel comprises of acclaimed photographers, researchers, scientists, journalists and editors. Chaired by renowned writer and editor, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox, the seven experts in their respective fields will collaborate to select 100 of the most stirring nature and wildlife images. To win, professional and amateur photographers must impress the judges with their originality, narrative and ethical practice. 

David Lindo, naturalist, broadcaster, writer and ‘Urban Birder’ says ‘It doesn't matter where the picture was sited, whether it was taken in the middle of ‘nowhere’ or in the centre of ‘somewhere’. I just want to be stopped in my tracks and to have an emotion, of any sort, pour from my heart.’ 

More than ever, the judges are eager to encourage more submissions from nationalities currently underrepresented in the competition, and female photographers. As Wildlife Photographer of the Year Programme Manager Soraia Salvador stated, ‘We want to amplify the important work of photographers from around the world and showcase varying perspectives and approaches to nature and wildlife photography.’ 

The Natural History Museum’s annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition showcases the captivating work of the competition winners before touring internationally to bring the beauty of nature to as wide an audience as possible. Along with a substantial cash prize for the Grand Title award winner, the 100 selected photographs will also feature in a limited-edition hardcover book, on digital platforms and across global media. 

To enter, and for full details on competition rules and prizes visit



Notes for editors

The fifty-seventh Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opened for entries on Monday 19 October 2020, and closes at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 10 December 2020. 

Entrants to the adult competition may enter up to 25 images for a £30 fee, which increases to £35 in the final week of the entry period from 11.30am GMT 3 December to 11.30am GMT 10 December. Entrants aged 17 and under may enter up to 10 images for free.

Rules and categories are translated into 12 languages: Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, Arabic, Finnish, German, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.  

The winners of the fifty-sixth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced via a public, virtual ceremony on Tuesday 13 October 2020. 

Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, now open to the public until 6 June 2021. 

About Wildlife Photographer of the Year:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year was founded in 1965 by BBC Wildlife Magazine, then called Animals. The Natural History Museum joined forces in 1984 to create the competition as it is known today. The competition is now run and owned by the Natural History Museum.

About the Natural History Museum:

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.

Media contact

Please contact Josephine Higgins or Alex Killeen at the Natural History Museum Press Office.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5106

Mobile: +44 (0) 7799 690151