A scar-faced fox, a hitchhiking macaque and two storks hunting by a controlled fire – these are among the first pictures released as part of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.
Developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, the competition showcases some lesser-known behaviours and habitats while exposing human impact on an increasingly fragile natural world.
More than a dozen images, which received highly commended awards in their categories, have been released ahead of the winners’ awards ceremony on October 10, announced by wildlife TV presenters and conservationists Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin.
Caitlin Henderson, from Australia, caught a possum dismembering a green cicada outside her balcony window.
She said: “There were heads here, wings there.”
And Atsuyuki Ohshima caught the moment a macaque sprang from a tree on to a deer on the Japanese island of Yakushima.
A mason bee building its home from twigs, the swirling spores of a mushroom in Greece and a tiger cub being evacuated from eastern Ukraine also feature.
Chairwoman of the judging panel Kathy Moran said: “What most impressed the jury was the range of subjects, from absolute beauty, rarely seen behaviours and species to images that are stark reminders of what we are doing to the natural world.
“We felt a powerful tension between wonder and woe that we believe came together to create a thought-provoking collection of photographs.”
Dr Doug Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, said: “We are facing urgent biodiversity and climate crises and photography is a powerful catalyst for change.
“The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition reveals some of nature’s most wondrous sights whilst offering hope and achievable actions visitors can take to help protect the natural world.”