Take a sneak peek at this year's best wildlife photos

These images from the finalists of Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s fifty-second competition capture the wonders of nature from Africa to the Arctic.

One of the 100 stunning images set to be displayed at this year's Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibit.

For 52 years running, the Natural History Museum in London has held one of the most prestigious nature photography competitions in the world. With their annual exhibition set to open later this month, the institution has released a preview of the highly-anticipated 100 image collection.

Nearly 50,000 entries from amateurs and professionals were submitted to the competition this year. The international panel of judges select the winners based on creativity, originality, and technical skill.

Here are some of our favourites:

Splitting the catch

Audun Rikardsen NORWAY 

Sometimes it’s the fishing boats that look for the killer whales and humpbacks, hoping to locate the shoals of herring that migrate to these Arctic Norwegian waters. But in recent winters, the whales have also started to follow the boats. Here a large male killer whale feeds on herring that have been squeezed out of the boat’s closing fishing net.

The disappearing fish

Iago Leonardo SPAIN 

In the open ocean, there’s nowhere to hide, but the lookdown fish – a name it probably gets from the steep profile of its head, with mouth  set low and large eyes high – is a master of camouflage. Recent research suggests that it uses special platelets in its skin cells to reflect polarised light (light moving in a single plane), making itself almost invisible to predators and potential prey. 

Swarming under the stars

Imre Potyó HUNGARY 

Imre was captivated by the chaotic swarming of mayflies on Hungary’s River Rába and dreamt of photographing the spectacle beneath a starlit sky. For a few days each year (at the end of July or beginning of August), vast numbers of the adult insects emerge from the Danube tributary, where they developed as larvae. On this occasion, the insects emerged just after sunset. At first, they stayed close to the water, but once they had mated, the females gained altitude. They filled the air with millions of silken wings, smothering Imre and his equipment in their race upstream to lay their eggs on the water’s surface. Then they died, exhausted, after just a few hours.

Playing pangolin


Lance had tracked the pride for several hours before they stopped to rest by a waterhole, but their attention was not on drinking. The lions (in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve) had discovered a Temminck’s ground pangolin. This nocturnal, ant-eating mammal is armour-plated with scales made of fused hair, and it curls up into an almost impregnable ball when threatened.

Termite tossing

Willem Kruger SOUTH AFRICA 

Termite after termite after termite – using the tip of its massive beak-like forceps to pick them up, the hornbill would flick them in the air and then swallow them. Foraging beside a track in South Africa’s semi-arid Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the southern yellow-billed hornbill was so deeply absorbed in termite snacking that it gradually worked its way to within 6  metres  (19 feet) of where Willem sat watching from his vehicle. Though widespread, this southern African hornbill can be shy, and as it feeds on the ground – mainly on termites, beetles,  grasshoppers  and caterpillars – it can be difficult for a photographer to get a clear shot among the scrub. The bird feeds this way because its tongue isn’t long enough to pick up insects as, say, a woodpecker might, and though its huge bill restricts its field of vision, it can still see the bill’s tip and so can pick up insects with precision. 

Nosy neighbour

Sam Hobson UK 

Sam knew exactly who to expect when he set his camera on the wall one summer’s evening in a suburban street in Bristol, the UK’s famous fox city. He wanted to capture the inquisitive nature of the urban red fox in a way that would pique the curiosity of its human  neighbours about the wildlife around them.

The exhibition runs from Friday 21 October 2016 – Sunday 10 September 2017 in London.

TRTWorld and agencies