December 9, 2018

London’s own Natural History Museum announced the winners of its annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards last October, and the selections were simply breathtaking.

Now that the judges have had their say, it’s your turn!

Of the 45,000 submissions from 95 countries, 100 top entries were selected to go in the exhibit, while 25 finalists were chosen for you, the people, to have your say.

Hence, Tuesday marked the opening of the WPY 2018 LUMIX’s People’s Choice Award, where you decide which of those finalists will show in the exhibition by voting for your favorite wildlife photo online.

The People’s Choice winner will hang alongside the other top pics, including this year’s winner, Marsel van Oosten, from the Netherlands, who took home the top prize for “The Golden Couple” (shown at the end of the slideshow below as a bonus), which magically depicts a pair of snub-nosed monkeys in the Qinling Mountains in China.

Without further ado, here are a dozen or so of our favorites for you to sample before you go vote for your favorite:

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Family Portrait”

By Connor Stefanison, Canada

A great grey owl and her chicks sit in their nest in the broken top of a Douglas fir tree in Kamloops, Canada. They looked towards Connor only twice as he watched them during the nesting season from a tree hide 50 feet (15 meters) up.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Ambush”

By Federico Veronesi, Kenya

On a hot morning at the Chitake Springs, in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, Federico watched as an old lioness descended from the top of the riverbank. She’d been lying in wait to ambush any passing animals visiting a nearby waterhole further along the riverbed.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Curious Encounter”

By Cristobal Serrano, Spain

Any close encounter with an animal in the vast wilderness of Antarctica happens by chance, so Cristobal was thrilled by this spontaneous meeting with a crabeater seal off of Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula. These curious creatures are protected and, with few predators, thrive.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Painted Waterfall”

By Eduardo Blanco Mendizabal, Spain

When the sun beams through a hole in the rock at the foot of the La Foradada waterfall, Catalonia, Spain, it creates a beautiful pool of light. The rays appear to paint the spray of the waterfall and create a truly magical picture.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Under the Snow”

By Audren Morel, France

Unafraid of the snowy blizzard, this squirrel came to visit Audren as he was taking photographs of birds in the small Jura village of Les Fourgs, France. Impressed by the squirrel’s endurance, he made it the subject of the shoot.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Teenager”

By Franco Banfi, Switzerland

Franco was free diving off Dominica in the Caribbean Sea when he witnessed this young male sperm whale trying to copulate with a female. Unfortunately for him her calf was always in the way and the frisky male had to continually chase off the troublesome calf.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“One Toy, Three Dogs”

By Bence Mate, Hungary

While adult African wild dogs are merciless killers, their pups are extremely cute and play all day long. Bence photographed these brothers in Mkuze, South Africa—they all wanted to play with the leg of an impala and were trying to drag it in three different directions!

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“The Orphaned Beaver”

By Suzi Eszterhas, United States

A 1-month-old orphaned North American beaver kit is held by a caretaker at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, Washington. Luckily, it was paired with a female beaver that took on the role of mother, and they were later released into the wild.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“The Extraction”

By Konstantin Shatenev, Russia

Every winter, hundreds of Steller’s sea eagles migrate from Russia to the relatively ice-free northeastern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. They hunt for fish among the ice floes and also scavenge, following the fishing boats to feed on any discards. Konstantin took his image from a boat as the eagles retrieved a dead fish thrown onto the ice.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“A Polar Bear’s Struggle”

By Justin Hofman, United States

Justin’s whole body pained as he watched this starving polar bear at an abandoned hunter’s camp, in the Canadian Arctic, slowly heave itself up to standing. With little, and thinning, ice to move around on, the bear is unable to search for food.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Bond of Brothers”

By David Lloyd, New Zealand / United Kingdom

These two adult males, probably brothers, greeted and rubbed faces for 30 seconds before settling down. Most people never have the opportunity to witness such animal sentience, and David was honored to have experienced and captured such a moment.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Resting Mountain Gorilla”

By David Lloyd, New Zealand / United Kingdom

The baby gorilla clung to its mother whilst keeping a curious eye on David. He had been trekking in South Bwindi, Uganda, when he came across the whole family. As he followed them, they then stopped in a small clearing to relax and groom each other.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Three Kings”

By Wim Van Den Heever, South Africa

Wim came across these king penguins on a beach in the Falkland Islands just as the sun was rising. They were caught up in a fascinating mating behavior—the two males were constantly moving around the female using their flippers to fend the other off.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Sound Asleep”

By Tony Wu, United States

This adult humpback whale balanced in mid-water, head-on and sound asleep, was photographed in Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. The faint stream of bubbles, visible at the top, is coming from the whale’s two blowholes and was, in this instance, indicative of an extremely relaxed state.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“All That Remains”

By Phil Jones, United Kingdom

A male orca had beached itself about a week before Phil’s visit to Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands. Despite its huge size, the shifting sands had almost covered the whole carcass, and scavengers, such as this striated caracara, had started to move in.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

“Shy”

By Pedro Carrillo, Spain

The mesmerizing pattern of a beaded sand anemone beautifully frames a juvenile Clarkii clownfish in Lembeh strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Known as a ‘nursery’ anemone, it is often a temporary home for young clownfish until they find a more suitable host anemone for adulthood.

Courtesy of Natural History Museum

Grand Title Winner 2018, Animal Portraits

“The Golden Couple”

By Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands

It’s spring in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only place where these endangered monkeys live. A male Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey rests briefly on a stone seat. He has been joined by a female from his small group. Both are watching intently as an altercation takes place down the valley between the lead males of two other groups in the 50-strong troop.