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Sascha Fonseca’s spectacular camera trap image of a snow leopard at sunset, perfectly posed against the mountains of Ladakh in northern India, has been voted as the winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
A record 60,466 nature photography fans voted, and German photographer Sascha Fonseca’s ‘World of the snow leopard’ emerged as the firm favourite.
Sascha's image was selected from a shortlist of 25 images that were chosen by the Natural History Museum from nearly 39,000 images that were submitted for the fifty-eighth competition. The image will be displayed in the redesigned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum until it closes on 2 July 2023.
Sascha captured this image during a three-year bait-free camera trap project high up in the Indian Himalayas. Known as the ‘ghost of the mountains’, this elusive species is incredibly challenging to photograph in the wild due to their camouflage and stealth, as well as scarce numbers, in remote, rugged habitats. With an estimate of only 6,500 adults living in the wild, these big cats face the threats of poaching, habitat loss and human-animal conflict.
Sascha says, ‘I’m incredibly proud to be the winner of this year’s People’s Choice Award and I thank all the supporters around the world for making this happen. Photography can connect people to wildlife and encourage them to appreciate the beauty of the unseen natural world. I believe that a greater understanding of wildlife leads to deeper caring which hopefully results in active support and greater public interest for conservation.’
‘This year’s record number of votes illustrates how wildlife photography can engage and inspire audiences with the wonder of nature. A result of dedication and perseverance, Sascha’s remarkable image captures the breathtaking beauty of our planet and reminds us of our shared responsibility to protect it,’ says Dr Douglas Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum.
The four ‘Highly Commended’ finalists that captured the fascination of nature enthusiasts across the globe include ‘Holding on’ by Igor Altuna, a dramatic image of a leopard carrying a dead monkey and its baby, and ‘Fox affection’ by Brittany Crossman, showing red foxes greeting one another with an affectionate nuzzle. A polar bear cub plays amongst flowers on the coast of Hudson Bay, Canada in Martin Gregus’s ‘Among the flowers’, while Marina Cano’s ‘Portrait of Olobor’ is a striking capture of a male lion in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum and offers a truly global platform for amateur and professional photographers alike. Using photography's unique emotive power to engage and inspire audiences, the exhibition shines a light on stories and species around the world and supports the Museum in its mission of creating advocates for the planet. The fifty-ninth competition is currently being judged by an esteemed panel of experts, and the winners will be revealed in October 2023.
The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in London is sponsored by renewable energy company Ørsted.
Press pack including images and captions can be found here.
Notes to editors
For access to high-resolution images or to arrange interviews with photographers or Museum spokespeople, please contact Josephine Higgins at the Natural History Museum Press Office.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5106
Mobile: +44 (0) 7799 690151
Exhibition at Natural History Museum, London
South Kensington exhibition sponsors
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