The Most Spectacular Wildlife Photos Of The Year

The winners of the
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competitionwere revealed last week.

A South African photographer won the top award for his stunning portrait of African elephants in Botswana.

For the competition, one-hundred images were selected from 43,000 entries. There were winners in 18 individual categories as well as an overall award.

Here’s a selection of some of the best images, including a pouncing fox, a scene of gharial crocodiles, and the rare shot of a polar bear underwater.

You can see more photographs at the Natural History Museum website.

'Essence of Elephants' -- Greg du Toit of South Africa won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for this shot of African elephants taken at a waterhole in Botswana's Northern Tuli Game Reserve.

'Snow moment' -- Jasper Doest of the Netherlands captured a Japanese macaque jumping on a rock in a hot spring.

'The Cauldron' -- Sergey Gorshkov of Russia photographed Plosky Tolbachik, a volcano in central Russia, from a helicopter when it erupted last November for the first time in 36 years.

'Dive Buddy' -- Luis Javier Sandoval of Mexico documented the endangered green turtle on the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancún.

'The Spat' -- Joe McDonald from the United States watched a female jaguar attack a male companion near a river in Brazil.

'Sticky Situation' -- Isak Pretorius from South Africa found a lesser noddy, a bird that flies to an island in the Seychelles to breed, entangled in the large web of a red-legged golden orb-web spiders. The female spiders can grow to the size of a human hand.

'The Water Bear' -- American Paul Souders took his Zodiac boat to Hudson Bay in Canada during mid-summer and waited patiently for this polar bear, first spotted on sea ice about 30 miles offshore, to slip into the water.

'Lucky Pounce' -- Connor Stefanison from Canada photographed this fox seconds before it was about to pounce on a mouse, in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park.

'The Flight Path' -- Stefanison was also recognised for his photo of a female barred owl swooping in front of red cedar trees and ferns in British Colombia.

'Mother's Little Headful' -- Udayan Rao Pawar, 14, from India photographed a female gharial crocodile in the Chambal River while balancing several hatchlings on her head.

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