55 award-winning wildlife photos that will make you see animals in a whole new light

55 award-winning wildlife photos that will make you see animals in a whole new light

The Under the Sea Award winner was photographer Tanya Houppermans with a photo of a friendly shark.

"Smiling Blue Shark" by Tanya Houppermans. Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards

“Smiling Blue Shark” by Tanya Houppermans.

Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards


The shark appeared to be smiling as it swam towards the photographer, earning her an award in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Check out the eyes on that owl.

"Peek a boo" by Shane Keena shows an owl peeking out of the ground.

“Peek-a-boo” by Shane Keena.

Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards


The photo, entitled “Peek-a-boo” by Shane Keena, won the Spectrum Photo Creatures of the Air Award in the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Krisztina Scheeff, a finalist in the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, captured a greedy Atlantic puffin in “Seriously, Would You Share Some?”

Two puffins, one of which has lots of leaves in its mouth. The other puffin looks on jealously.

“Seriously, Would You Share Some?”


© Krisztina Scheeff/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2020



Scheeff took the photo in Scotland.

Who says nature photographers have to be human?

"Wildlife PhotograBear" Roie Galitz shows a polar bear appearing to take a photo.

“Wildlife PhotograBear” by Roie Galitz.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



“Wildlife PhotograBear” by Roie Galitz was a Highly Commended photo in the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

These bears appear to be excellent dancers.

"Tango" by Michael Watts shows two bears appearing to dance.

“Tango” by Michael Watts.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



The photo, entitled “Tango,” was Highly Commended in the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

This bear doesn’t seem to be feeling up to a tango.

"Coastal Brown Bear Cub with Headache" by Danielle D'Ermo shows a bear appearing to facepalm.

“Coastal Brown Bear Cub with Headache” by Danielle D’Ermo.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



Another Highly Commended photo from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards shows a brown bear appearing to clutch its head.

Photographer Barney Koszalka captured a battle of wits between moose.

"So There" by Barney Koszalka shows two moose who look like they're talking to each other.

“So There” by Barney Koszalka.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



Another Highly Commended photo from the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards shows one animal sticking out its tongue.

This bear is just really passionate about road safety.

"Drive Safe" by Jonathan Irish shows a bear leaning against a road safety sign.

“Drive Safe” by Jonathan Irish.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



The photo was Highly Commended in the 2018 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

These primates were up to some monkey business.

"This Is Sparta" by Sergey Savvi. One monkey is kicking another.

“This Is Sparta” by Sergey Savvi.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



Highly Commended by the 2018 Wildlife Comedy Photography Awards, the photo shows two monkeys fighting, playing, or something in between.

Kallol Mukherjee snapped a photo of a well-positioned peacock behind a rhino for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

"Rhinopeacock" by Kallol Mukherjee. A peacock stands behind a rhino.

“Rhinopeacock” by Kallol Mukherjee.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



The photo was Highly Commended in 2018.

Squirrels can be incredibly flexible.

"Split" by Geert Weggen. A squirrel stands on two flowers.

“Split” by Geert Weggen.


Courtesy of Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards



“Split” by Geert Weggen earned the title of Highly Commended in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The overall winner of the 2017 Wildlife Comedy Photography Awards shows an owl struggling to keep his grip as his owl friends look the other way.

"Help" by Tibor Kercz. An owl slips off a branch.

“Help” by Tibor Kercz.

Tibor Kercz/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The photo was taken in Opusztaszer, Hungary.

A baby dormouse appears to laugh on a yarrow flower in this award-winning photo from the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

"The Laughing Doormouse" by Andrea Zampatti. A mouse appears to smile while sitting in a flower.

“The Laughing Doormouse” by Andrea Zampatti.

Andrea Zampatti/CWPA/Barcroft Images


Alex Walker’s photo, taken in Monticelli Brusati, Italy, won the Serian on the Land award.

The 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Award’s Kenya Airways in the Air Winner shows widgeons flying through the air.

"Duck Speed" by John Threlfall. Ducks flying line up with an airplane's cloud trail.

“Duck Speed” by John Threlfall.

John Threlfall/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The birds were photographed in Preston, England.

A green turtle pushed a a Napoleon maori wrasse out of the way in Queensland, Australia.

Slap" by Troy Mayne. A turtle pushes a fish with its fin.

Slap” by Troy Mayne.

Troy Mayne/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The photo won the Padi Under the Sea award in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

This photo is cheekily named “Outsourcing Seatbelt Checks.”

"Outsourcing Seatbelt Checks" by Graeme Guy. A giraffe looks at a low-flying plane.

“Outsourcing Seatbelt Checks” by Graeme Guy.

Graeme Guy/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The photo, taken in Masai Mara, Kenya, was a Finalist in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

A seal in San Diego, California, appears to be getting a good laugh.

"Laughing Seal — Oh, I just got it!" by Brian Valente. A seal appears to laugh.

“Laughing Seal — Oh, I just got it!” by Brian Valente.

Brian Valente/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards named the photo as a Finalist.

Photographer Tanakit-Suwanyangyaun titled this photo “Say Cheese!”

"Say Cheese!" by Tanakit-Suwanyangyaun. A fish sticks its head out of the water.

“Say Cheese!” by Tanakit-Suwanyangyaun.

Tanakit-Suwanyangyaun/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The photo was a finalist in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, taken in Sipadan, Malaysia.

A Calumma nasutum, also known as a nose-horned chameleon, danced on the end of a branch in Andasibe, Madagascar.

A Calumma nasutum, the nose-horned chameleon seen dancing on the end of a branch in Andasibe, Madagascar.

Untitled by Jasmine Vink.

Jasmine Vink/CWPA/Barcroft Images


The photo was a finalist in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

“Hitching A Ride” by Daisy Gilardini was Highly Commended in the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

"Hitching A Ride" by Daisy Gilardini. A polar bear cub climbs its mother's back.

“Hitching A Ride” by Daisy Gilardini.

Daisy Gilardini/CWPA/Barcroft Images


A polar bear mother with a cub hitches a ride in Wapusk National Park in Manitoba, Canada. 

Reuters chose this photo of birds on the back of a zebra as one of the best animal photos of 2018.

Birds on a zebra in Nairobi, Kenya.

Birds on a zebra in Nairobi, Kenya.

Baz Ratner/Reuters


The photo was taken in Nairobi National Park near Nairobi, Kenya.

Another photo recognized by Reuters in 2018 shows a murmuration of migrating starlings flying in a cloud.

Starlings fly in formation near Beit Kama, Israel.

Starlings near Beit Kama, Israel.

Amir Cohen/Reuters/TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY


The birds appeared near the village of Beit Kama in southern Israel.

A red deer in the early morning mist made for a dramatic silhouette.

Red deer in Bushy Park in London.

Red deer in Bushy Park in London.

Henry Nicholls/Reuters


The photo, taken by Henry Nicholls, was one of Reuters’ best animal photos of 2018.

Elephants and zebras walk through Amboseli National Park in Kenya.

A whirlwind is seen as elephant and zebras walk through the Amboseli National Park.

A whirlwind is seen as elephant and zebras walk through the Amboseli National Park.

Baz Ratner/Reuters


Whirlwinds swirl in the background of this photo, recognized by Reuters as one of the best animal photos of 2018.

Shivang Mehta’s photo of a young tiger cub hunting a deer won second place in the “Animals in their Environment” category of the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards.

"The Hunt" by Shivang Mehta. A tiger tackles its prey.

“The Hunt” by Shivang Mehta.


Shivang Mehta/Siena International Photo Awards



“A young and inexperienced tiger cub attempts to hunt a chital (spotted deer) in Ranthambore National Park, India; but the chital turned out to be too big for this young cub,” Mehta captioned the photo. “I captured the moment when the tiger cub was struggling to get the prey down, as his siblings and mother were watching from a distance.”

 

The first place winner of the “Animals in their Environment” category went to Amos Nachoum for his photo of a penguin that is about to be eaten by a seal.

"Facing Reality" by Amos Nachoum. A penguin is about to be eaten by a seal.

“Facing Reality” by Amos Nachoum.


Amos Nachoum/Siena International Photo Awards



“A leopard seal got into a lagoon just before low tide,” Nachoum wrote. “The seal was hiding, waiting to ambush young penguins as they got closer. When a penguin got close enough, the seal moved extremely fast and caught the penguin by its feet, dragging it to the open water. I was following parallel to the action. The seal released the penguin twice and the terrified penguin succeeded in escaping, but the seal continued chasing after it, and on the third attempt, drowned the penguin and devoured it.”

“This scene was part of a large, multi-day aggregation comprising hundreds, perhaps thousands of whales,” said photographer Tony Wu.

"Sperm Whale Herd" by Tony Wu. Sperm whales swim in the ocean.

“Sperm Whale Herd” by Tony Wu.


Tony Wu/Siena International Photo Awards



Wu’s photo won third place in the Animals in their Environment category of the Siena International Photo Awards.

Mariusz Potock photographed chinstrap penguins chilling on an iceberg in Bransfield Strait, Antarctica.

"Travelers" by Mariusz Potock. Penguins on an iceberg.

“Travelers” by Mariusz Potock.


Mariusz Potock/Siena International Photo Awards



The photo took third place in the Beauty of Nature category in the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards.

“Some of these floating islands are great resting places for hunting penguins who can travel many kilometers, before jumping back into the icy water,” Potock wrote.

The 2017 Photo of the Year in the Siena International Photo Awards was “Sand Hill Cranes” by Randy Olson.

"Sand Hill Cranes" by Randy Olson. Lightning strikes in the distance as sand hill cranes sit in the foreground.

“Sand Hill Cranes” by Randy Olson.


Courtesy Siena International Photo Awards



This photograph harkens back to a time when the USA had braided streams and plenty of space for the Sand Hill Crane migration,” Olson wrote. “Now, only a small area of the Platte River in Nebraska can accommodate all of them. Volunteers at the Crane Trust counted 413,000 Sandhill Cranes on this evening … more than they’ve ever counted before. These cranes are running out of habitat in most of their migration that goes from Siberia to South America.”

A brightly colored kingfisher bird was photographed in Croatia by Petar Sabol.

An orange and blue bird sits on a branch.

“Peak” by Petar Sabol.


Courtesy Siena International Photo Awards



The photo won Siena International Photo Contest’s “Remarkable Award” in 2017.

Arshdeep Singh won the 10-and-under category of The Natural History Museum in London’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards with this shot of two owls.

"Pipe Owls" by Arshdeep Singh. Two small owls sit in the hollow inside of a pipe.

“Pipe Owls” by Arshdeep Singh.


© Arshdeep Singh – Winner, 10 Years and Under



Singh, who started taking pictures when he was 6, spotted these two owls in a waste pipe from the car window. He asked his father to stop the car so he could kneel on the seat and get this shot, resting his camera on the half-open window.

Ricardo Núñez Montero captured this heart-wrenching photo of a gorilla mother mourning her baby.

"Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby" by Ricardo Núñez Montero. A gorilla holds up the corpse of its baby.

“Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby” by Ricardo Núñez Montero.


© Ricardo Núñez Montero – Winner, Behaviours Mammals



Like people, animals mourn their dead relatives. This gorilla mother carried, cuddled, and groomed her infant’s corpse.

Kuhirwa, a mountain gorilla, lives in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. After a few weeks of sadness, she gave in and started eating the baby’s remains.

This shot depicting Kuhirwa’s grief won the mammal behaviors category in the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

It would have been nearly impossible for this turtle to escape from a plastic net it got caught in without the help of underwater photographers who happened upon it.

"Caretta Caretta Turtle" by Eduardo Acevedo. A turtle is stuck in plastic netting.

“Caretta Caretta Turtle” by Eduardo Acevedo.

© Eduardo Acevedo/UPY2019


Eduardo Acevedo was named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year in the 2019 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition for his work.

“The Caretta Caretta turtles spend much of their life in the open ocean,” he wrote. “They come to the Canary Island after crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean beaches. In this trip of many years, they often have to avoid many dangerous traps like plastics, ropes, fishing nets etc.”

The Wide Angle winner of the 2019 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition was François Baelen with a photo of a humpback whale.

"Gentle Giants" by François Baelen. A whale's tail.

“Gentle Giants” by François Baelen.

© François Baelen/UPY2019


“At the very end of the day, this humpback whale was resting 15 meters down and allowed me to free dive centimeters away from her tail,” he wrote. “I told my friend I wanted him to be part of the shot, but didn’t need to ask the playful calf: he was very curious.”

Nicholas Samaras snapped a photo of this friendly ray in Stratoni, Greece.

"Fly High and Smile" by Nicholas Samaras. A stingray appears to smile.

“Fly High and Smile” by Nicholas Samaras.

© Nicholas Samaras/UPY2019


It was the Portrait winner of the 2019 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.

“I visited Stratoni three times in August 2018 for a photo project dedicated to the seahorse colony that managed to survive there,” he wrote. “On my third and last visit I was planning to create a specific group photo of seahorses before sunset using natural light. Just in time for the big finale, a small ray came onto the scene!” 

Black and white nature photos heighten the drama.

"Between Two Worlds" by Henley Spiers. A bird dives into a school of fish.

“Between Two Worlds” by Henley Spiers.

© Henley Spiers/UPY2019


Henley Spiers’ photo was the Black and White category winner in the 2019 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.

“This image captures the hostile, black silhouette of the cormorant as it dives down onto its prey, who, for a brief moment, remain unaware of the danger above,” the caption read.

Clemence Guinard came across a baboon who looked ready to burst into song and titled the image “The Baboon Who Feels Like A Tenor.”

A baboon with its mouth wide open, as if it were singing.

“The Baboon Who Feels Like A Tenor” by Clemence Guinard.


Clemence Guinard/Comedywildlifephoto.com



“Resting with its pack, down a road in the Saudi Arabian mountains, this hamadryas baboon started to yawn,” Guinard wrote. “But the graceful position of its paws, its fluffy cape, its eyes looking like it put some makeup — in front of the camera, this baboon was on stage, ready to please its public and to start its tenor solo.”

The photo is a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Kevin Biskaborn’s image features a mother raccoon with her babies squished into a tight space, aptly titled “Quarantine Life,” a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Four raccoons squished in a hole in a tree trunk.

“Quarantine Life” by Kevin Biskaborn.


Kevin Biskaborn/Comedywildlifephoto.com



“Isolated inside with your family eager to get out and explore the world? These eastern raccoon kits are too,” Biskaborn wrote. “Just when you think there’s no more room in the tree hollow, mother raccoon appears and displays just how compact the space is. The babies clambered all over their mom and each another, struggling to take a look at the exact same time. This photo was taken in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.”

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