It has been announced that the ‘unique view’ of a Siberian tiger embracing a fir tree has won this year’s Wildlife Photographer Competition.
Russian photographer Sergei Gorshkov won 49,000 entries from around the world and won the first prize in the prestigious competition, which took more than 11 months to capture with cameras hidden with the image.
The judges said the photo showed a ‘scene like no other’ and gave hope that the Siberian or Amur tigers would return.
Liana Heikinen won this year’s Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award with a picture taken during the holidays in Helsinki, Finland.
The Duchess of Cambridge announced the winners at an online awards ceremony broadcast from the Museum of Natural History in London on Tuesday night, where an exhibition of the paintings will be on display.
The best title winners were selected from the top 100 films submitted to the competition in categories highlighting the world’s richest habitats, animal behaviors and species.
Pictures that won in different categories included a profile shot of a young male proboscis monkey, a rare picture of Ballas cats taken on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and a polar bear in a circus.
Photographs of a biologist looking at a Cordilleran fly catcher won prizes in the category of a nest outside his window, a small diamondback squid in the dark, and two wasps of different species entering neighboring nests.
Rosamond Kidman Cox, chairman of the judging panel, said of the overall winning film, The Warmth: ‘This is no other scene. Unique view of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest.
‘The stems of the low winter sun illuminate the ancient fir tree and the fort of the great tiger, because he snatches the trunk in apparent ecstasy and inhales the scent of the tiger in the resin, leaving her identity as her message.
‘This is the story told in the glorious color and texture of the return of the Amur tiger, the symbol of the Russian jungle.’
Dr. Tim Littlewood, director of science at the Museum of Natural History and a member of the judging panel, said: ‘The Amur people who were hunted on the brink of extinction in the last century are still threatened by poaching and looting.
‘The remarkable view of the tiger’s immersion in its natural environment gives us confidence, as recent reports suggest that numbers are rising from dedicated conservation efforts.
‘Through the unique emotional power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to preserve it.’
Created and produced by this year’s wildlife photographer at the Museum of Natural History in London, an exhibition opens on Friday, October 16, before touring the UK and internationally, including Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany.
The museum said limited visitor numbers and security measures in the light of Covit-19 would ensure that visitors have a ‘safe and welcoming experience’ and can view images in a crowded gallery.