The winning images for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 were announced on 15 October in the Hintze Hall at the Natural History Museum, with the overall winner awarded to Yongqing Bao from China for his image, ‘The Moment’.
His photograph was also the joint winner in the Behaviour: Mammals category.
“Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment,” says Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel, and a former editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine. “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.”
The Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon notes that “this compelling picture captures nature’s ultimate challenge – its battle for survival. 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”.
The Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 title was awarded to Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand, who also won the 11-14 years old category, for his Night Glow image depicting an iridescent big fin reef squid in the Lembeh Straight in Indonesia
“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,” says Theo Bosboom, nature photographer and member of the judging panel for this year’s competition.
The 2019 competition received over 48,000 entries from 100 countries, and the winning and highly commended images will be on display at the Natural History Museum from Friday 18 October 2019, before touring across Great Britain, then internationally to the U.S., Canada, Spain, Australia and Germany.
Photographer Shangzhen Fan won the “animals in their environment” category with this aerial photograph of a herd of chiru antelope on a snow-covered slope in China’s Kumukuli Desert. The animals are often hunted for their fur.
This ethereal image of a frog migration in southern Italy, by Manuel Plaickner, won the award for “amphibian and reptile behavior.”
Norwegian photographer Audun Rikardson won the “bird behavior” category with this camera trap photo of a golden eagle surveying the landscape. It took three years for this eagle to become accustomed to the camera’s presence.
Photographer Daniel Kronauer tracked a colony of nomadic army ants through a Costa Rican forest, capturing them as they hunted and built shelter. This image of the colony, assembled in a crown-like shape across two leaves, won him the award for “insect behavior.”
For this image of a puma in Patagonia attempting to take down a guanaco, Ingo Arndt shared the top award in the “mammal behavior” category with Yongqing Bao. No one had photographed this hunt in detail before, Arndt says.
Zorica Kovacevic won the “plants and fungi” category with this image of the branches of a Monterey cypress tree covered in orange-colored green algae and gray lace lichen, shot in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, in California.
David Doubilet won the “under water” category for his photo of an elusive deep-sea colony of garden eels.
Charlie Hamilton James won the “urban wildlife” category with his intimate portrayal of rats on the streets of New York City.
This photograph of a lone bison during a snowstorm in Yellowstone National Park won Max Waugh the “black and white” category.
Mexican photojournalist Alejandro Prieto won the wildlife photojournalism category for best single image. He documented this Mexican jaguar for over two years with camera traps on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Jasper Doest won the wildlife photojournalist story award with a series of photographs depicting once-revered Japanese macaques.
This photograph of an ant-mimicking crab spider won Indian photographer Ripan Biswas the top award in the “animal portraits” category.
Stefan Christmann won top distinction in the “portfolio award” category, for his work on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica. He captured this image of more than 5,000 emperor penguins on a freezing cold day during a brief moment of twilight.
Open to photographers of all ages and abilities, next year’s 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on October 21, 2019 and closes at 11:30 a.m. GMT on December 12, 2019.