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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 53 People's Choice winner revealed

A heart-warming image of a gentle moment between a gorilla and one of her rescuers is the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.

Almost 20,000 nature fans voted, and Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur's shot, Pikin and Appolinaire, emerged as the favourite.

Jo-Anne's image was chosen from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition. The picture will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London until it closes on 28 May.

Jo-Anne says, 'I'm so thankful that this image resonated with people and I hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals. No act of compassion towards them is ever too small. I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption. Such is the case with the story of Pikin and Appolinaire, a beautiful moment between friends.'

The winning image depicts conservation in action and highlights our connection with our fellow apes. Pikin, the lowland gorilla, had been captured and removed from her habitat to be sold for bushmeat, but was rescued by Ape Action Africa.

Jo-Anne took her intimate photograph as Pikin was being moved from one enclosure to another. The gorilla awoke from sedation during the transfer but remained calm for the bumpy drive, resting drowsily in the arms of her human companion, Appolinaire.

Like Pikin, Appolinaire Ndohoudou was forced from his home, having fled Chad because of a civil war. As he rebuilt his life in Cameroon, his work in protecting wild animals revived his appreciation for the natural world. He has built loving relationships with the gorillas he helps to rear - some of these animals have known him almost all their lives.

Director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon, says, 'Like our blue whale, Hope, has become, Jo-Anne's inspirational image is a symbol of humanity's power to protect the world's most vulnerable species and shape a more sustainable future for life on our planet. Photographs like Jo-Anne's are a reminder that we can make a difference, and we all have a part to play in addressing our impact on the natural world.'

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum's annual showcase of the world's best nature photography and photojournalism. Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images shine a spotlight on nature photography as an art form as well as challenge us to address the big questions facing our planet. The 2018 competition's entries are currently being judged by an esteemed panel of experts, and the winners will be revealed in October.

Notes to editors

Media contact: For more information or to access competition images, contact Zoë Summers at the Natural History Museum press office.

Email: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654 Mobile: +44 (0)7799 690151

Twitter:          @NHM_WPY
Instagram:     NHM_WPY
Hashtag:        #WPYPeoplesChoice

Exhibition information

Dates and times:    Open until 28 May 2018
                                 10.00-17.50 (last admission 17.15)

Please book tickets in advance to enjoy this sell-out exhibition at weekends.

Visitor enquiries:      +44 (0)20 7942 5000

Admission:                Prices from Adult £14.00*, child and concession £8*
                                    Free for Members, Patrons and children under four
* These are Gift Aid prices and include an optional donation to the Museum.
Please see for full pricing

Nearest tube:             South Kensington


  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum's annual showcase of the world's best nature photography and wildlife photojournalism on one global platform. Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images shine a spotlight on nature photography as an art form, whilst challenging us to address the big questions facing our planet.
  • Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photographer, author and educator based in Toronto, Canada. Through her long-term body of work, We Animals, she has been documenting our complex relationship with animals around the globe. Since 1998, her work has taken her to over fifty countries. Her photography and writing has been in publications such as National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Lens Culture, the LA Times and Elle Canada. She speaks regularly at schools, universities and conferences worldwide on the subjects of photography, the human-animal relationship, social change and empathy.
  • 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. More than five million people visit the sites in South Kensington and Tring every year, and the website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. 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.
  • This has been a landmark year for the Natural History Museum. The spectacular reimagining of Hintze Hall marks the beginning of our transformation into a Museum for the future. At its centre, Hope, the blue whale, tells an important story about our ability to create a sustainable future for our planet. Blue whales were hunted to the brink of extinction and were the first species that humans acted to save on a global scale.