© Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019, Yongqing Bao

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Caught in the moment: Gripping action shot wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019

The winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition are revealed today at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London, which develops, produces and exhibits the international competition. 

Hailing from the Chinese province of Qinghai, Yongqing Bao has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 title for his extraordinary image, The Moment, which frames the standoff between a Tibetan fox and a marmot, seemingly frozen in life-or-death deliberations. A powerful frame of both humour and horror, it captures the drama and intensity of nature.

Chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox, says, ‘Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment. The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance. Images from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are rare enough, but to have captured such a powerful interaction between a Tibetan fox and a marmot - two species key to the ecology of this high-grassland region - is extraordinary.’

Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon comments, ‘This compelling picture captures nature's ultimate challenge - its battle for survival. The area in which this was taken, often referred to as the ‘third pole’, because of the enormous water reserves held by its ice fields, is under threat from dramatic temperature rises like those seen in the Arctic. At a time when precious habitats are facing increasing climate pressures, seeing these fleeting yet fascinating moments reminds us of what we need to protect.’

Fourteen-year-old Cruz Erdmann took the award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 with his serene portrait of an iridescent big fin reef squid captured on a night dive in the Lembeh Strait off North Sulawesi, Indonesia. From an early age Cruz has been in love with the ocean and gained his diving certification at the age of just ten years old. After inheriting his father’s old underwater camera, Cruz found the perfect medium to express his passion for all things aquatic.

Theo Bosboom, nature photographer and member of the judging panel for WPY55, says ‘To dive in the pitch dark, find this beautiful squid and to be able to photograph it so elegantly, to reveal its wonderful shapes and colours, takes so much skill. What a resounding achievement for such a young photographer.’

The two images were selected from 19 category winners, depicting the incredible diversity of life on our planet, from displays of rarely seen animal behaviour to hidden underwater worlds. Images from professional and amateur photographers are selected by a panel of industry-recognised professionals for their originality, creativity and technical excellence. The competition’s global platform sparks curiosity and wonder in millions of people each year allowing the unique emotive power of photography to sway hearts and minds and create advocates for the natural world.

Beating over 48,000 entries from 100 countries, Cruz and Yongqing’s images will be on show in stunning lightbox displays with 98 other spectacular photographs. The exhibition at the Natural History Museum opens on 18 October 2019 before touring across the UK and internationally to locations such as Canada, Spain, the USA, Australia and Germany.

Open to photographers of all ages and abilities, the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday 21 October 2019. Find out more at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/competition.html

Associate sponsors for the upcoming exhibition at the Natural History Museum are renewable energy company Ørsted and digital camera manufacturer, Panasonic LUMIX. 

Exhibition information  

Dates and times: Friday 18 October 2019 – Sunday 31 May 2020

10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)

To book tickets: www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy

Prices from: Adult £15.50*, child £9.25*, concession £12.25*

Free for Members, Patrons and children under four

Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000

Nearest tube: South Kensington

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildlifephotographeroftheyear

Twitter: @NHM_WPY

Instagram: @nhm_wpy

Hashtag: #WPY55

Online booking is highly recommended to guarantee entry, particularly for weekends.

* Prices including optional Gift Aid donation to the Museum.


The fifty-sixth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will open for entries on Monday 21 October 2019 and close at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 12 December 2019.

Open to everyone, the competition welcomes entries from photographers of all ages and abilities: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/competition.html

South Kensington exhibition sponsors

About Ørsted

The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, bioenergy plants and provides energy products to its customers. Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs 6,300 people. Ørsted’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2018, the group’s revenue was DKK 76.9 billion (EUR 10.3 billion). https://orsted.co.uk/en/About-us

About Panasonic and LUMIX

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, and B2B businesses. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018, the company has expanded globally and now operates 591 subsidiaries and 88 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of Euro 61.4 billion for the year ended March 31, 2018. Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for its customers. To learn more about Panasonic:


Since the first LUMIX digital single lens mirrorless camera, the LUMIX G1, was launched in 2008, Panasonic is the only manufacturer to have devoted 10 years to the development of this innovative camera system. Panasonic will continue to focus on developing high-end digital cameras that meet the stringent standards of professional photographers and video creators. To find out more about Panasonic's line-up of cutting-edge digital cameras: www.panasonic.co.uk/lumix

Images and media contact

For access to winning images please contact wildpress@nhm.ac.uk and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Email: wildpress@nhm.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5156 Mob: +44 (0)7799 690151

Notes to editors

  • The Natural History Museum’s acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition ignites curiosity about the natural world by showcasing Earth's extraordinary diversity and highlighting the fragility of wildlife on our planet. Using the unique emotive power of photography, the competition inspires people to think differently about their relationship with nature and become advocates for the planet.nhm.ac.uk/wpy
  • 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 solely run and owned by the Natural History Museum.
  • Open to photographers of all ages and abilities, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries every October. The 2020 competition opens on Monday 21 October 2019 and closes at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 12 December 2019.
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 29, edited by Rosamund Kidman-Cox, is published by the Natural History Museum and will be on sale as of 16 October 2019, priced £25.
  • A native Tibetan from the Chinese province of Qinghai, raised on the Tibetan Plateau, Yongqing Bao is a wildlife photographer, publishing in newspapers and magazines in China. He trained as an ecologist and serves as the director and chief ecological photographer of the Qilian Mountains Nature Conservation Association of China.
  • Born and raised in Bali, Indonesia, but now living in New Zealand, 14-year-old Cruz Erdmann fell in love with the ocean at an early age, receiving his diver certification at 10. He has now logged nearly 200 dives. He inherited his father’s old underwater camera a year ago and has been taking pictures ever since. Now 13, his sights are set on becoming a helicopter pilot, involved with exploration or research, or a photographer working in remote areas.

Natural History Museum members enjoy free, unlimited entry to every exhibition at the Museum including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with access to a range of exclusive discounts and benefits: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/support-us/membership.html

The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. It is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects. www.nhm.ac.uk