Photos show winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year

  • This image of a gentle moment between a gorilla and a rescuers who saved her from being slaughtered is the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award beating nearly 50,000 images
  • Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur's shot, called 'Pikin and Appolinaire' emerged as the favourite
  •  Jo-Anne's image was chosen from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition

By Bridie Pearson-jones For Mailonline

Published: 18:59 EST, 12 February 2018 | Updated: 21:37 EST, 12 February 2018

This heart-warming image of a gentle moment between a gorilla and a rescuers who saved her from being slaughtered is the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award beating nearly 50,000 images to win the much respected prize.

Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur's shot, called 'Pikin and Appolinaire' emerged as the favourite. 

Jo-Anne's image was chosen from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition.

 Pikin and Appolinaire: The winning image from nearly 50,000 entries in the Natural History Museum's wildlife photography competition was captured by Canadian Jo-anne McArthur in Cameroon. It shows lowland gorilla Pikin who was rescued from becoming bushmeat by Appolinaire Ndohoudou, and Ape Action Africa
 Pikin and Appolinaire: The winning image from nearly 50,000 entries in the Natural History Museum's wildlife photography competition was captured by Canadian Jo-anne McArthur in Cameroon. It shows lowland gorilla Pikin who was rescued from becoming bushmeat by Appolinaire Ndohoudou, and Ape Action Africa

 Pikin and Appolinaire: The winning image from nearly 50,000 entries in the Natural History Museum's wildlife photography competition was captured by Canadian Jo-anne McArthur in Cameroon. It shows lowland gorilla Pikin who was rescued from becoming bushmeat by Appolinaire Ndohoudou, and Ape Action Africa

It shows Pikin, a lowland gorilla, in the arms of Appolinaire Ndohoudou, who had just rescued her from being sold for bushmeat.

Appolinaire works for Ape Action Africa. He was moving Pikin from her former enclosure within a safe forest sanctuary in Cameroon to a new and larger one, along with a group of gorilla companions. She was first sedated, but during the transfer to the new enclosure she awoke.

As she was in the arms of her caretaker, she remained calm for the bumpy ride.    

Jo-Anne said: 'I'm so thankful that this image resonated with people and I hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals.

'No act of compassion towards them is ever too small. I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption. Such is the case with the story of Pikin and Appolinaire, a beautiful moment between friends.' 

Like Pikin, Appolinaire Ndohoudouwas forced from his home,having fled Chad because of a civil war. 

As he rebuilthis lifein Cameroon, his work in protecting wild animals revived his appreciation for the natural world. 

He has built loving relationships with the gorillas he helps to rear-some of these animals have known him almost all their lives

The picture will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London until it closes on 28 May.  

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum's annual showcase of the world's best nature photography and wildlife photojournalism on one global platform.

Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images shine a spotlight on nature photography as an art form, whilst challenging us to address the big questions facing our planet.

The Natural History Museum has also released the four finalists and 24 shortlisted images.

One of the four finalist was taken by Ray Chin, from Taiwan.

It shows two humpback whales around the island of Vava'u, Tonga.

The mother and calf were migrating south from their Antarctic feeding grounds to give birth in warm water off Tonga, in the South Pacific, a journey humpback whales take every year from July to late October. 

Ray encountered this pair while peacefully floating in the plankton-filled water.

After Ray gently approached them, the giants swam a bit closer to have a look at him. While they made this elegant turn, Ray took the shot. He later converted the image into black and white which he felt represented the simplicity of the scene.

One of the four finalists: 'Elegant mother and calf'. Captured by Ray Chin from Taiwan off the waters of island of Vava'u, Tonga, the humpback whales are making their journey south from their feeding ground of Antarctica to Tonga, in the South Pacific
One of the four finalists: 'Elegant mother and calf'. Captured by Ray Chin from Taiwan off the waters of island of Vava'u, Tonga, the humpback whales are making their journey south from their feeding ground of Antarctica to Tonga, in the South Pacific

One of the four finalists: 'Elegant mother and calf'. Captured by Ray Chin from Taiwan off the waters of island of Vava'u, Tonga, the humpback whales are making their journey south from their feeding ground of Antarctica to Tonga, in the South Pacific

Sloth hanging out: Taken by Luciano Candisani from Brazil. Luciano had to climb the cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth
Sloth hanging out: Taken by Luciano Candisani from Brazil. Luciano had to climb the cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth

Sloth hanging out: Taken by Luciano Candisani from Brazil. Luciano had to climb the cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth

The second of the four final photos, was taken by Luciano Candisani, from Brazil.

Luciano had to climb the cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth. 

As sloths like to feed on the leaves of these trees,and they are often seen high up in the canopy.

Another of the finalist photos 'Warm embrace' was taken by Debra Garside from Canada.

It depicts a polar bear mother hugging her cubs as they emerge from their dens in the early spring. 

The cubs stay close to their mothers for warmth and protection. Once the cubs are strong and confident enough,they make the trek to the sea ice with their mother so that she can resume hunting for seals. 

Photographer Debra waited six days near the den of this family, in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada,before they finally emerged.

In the most challenging conditions she has ever faced, temperatures ranged from -35 ̊C (-31 ̊F) to -55 ̊C (-67 ̊F) with high winds, making it almost impossible to avoid frostbite and keep her camera gear functioning properly.

One of the finalists: Warm Embrace. Taken by Debra Garside in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Debra waited six days in -55 C temperatures to capture this heartwarming moment
One of the finalists: Warm Embrace. Taken by Debra Garside in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Debra waited six days in -55 C temperatures to capture this heartwarming moment

One of the finalists: Warm Embrace. Taken by Debra Garside in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Debra waited six days in -55 C temperatures to capture this heartwarming moment

 Roller Rider: this photo was captured by Lakshitha Karunarathna from Sri Lanka. It was taken when Lakshitha was on safari in Maasa Mara National Reserve, Kenya. He spotted an unusual sight –a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra
 Roller Rider: this photo was captured by Lakshitha Karunarathna from Sri Lanka. It was taken when Lakshitha was on safari in Maasa Mara National Reserve, Kenya. He spotted an unusual sight –a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra

 Roller Rider: this photo was captured by Lakshitha Karunarathna from Sri Lanka. It was taken when Lakshitha was on safari in Maasa Mara National Reserve, Kenya. He spotted an unusual sight –a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra

The last of the finalists was taken by Lakshitha Karunarathna from Sri Lanka. 

It was taken when Lakshitha was on safari in Maasa Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

He spotted an unusual sight –a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra. 

Normally they prefer to perch high up in the foliage, but this roller spent an hour or more riding around and enjoying the occasional insect meal. 

Lakshitha waited for the surrounding zebras to form the perfect background before taking this tight crop.  

Other photographs that made the shortlist include giraffes, zebras, owls, and sealife taken all over the world.

One called 'Kick back and chill' was taken in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda by American Alan Chung.

It shows part of a 'Hirwa' family group of 16 mountain gorillas led by a silverback feeding their young on bamboo shoots.  

Kick back and chill: Taken by American Alan Chung in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda by American Alan Chung. It shows part of a 'Hirwa' family group of 16 mountain gorillas led by a silver back feeding their young on bamboo shoots
Kick back and chill: Taken by American Alan Chung in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda by American Alan Chung. It shows part of a 'Hirwa' family group of 16 mountain gorillas led by a silver back feeding their young on bamboo shoots

Kick back and chill: Taken by American Alan Chung in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda by American Alan Chung. It shows part of a 'Hirwa' family group of 16 mountain gorillas led by a silver back feeding their young on bamboo shoots

The below, was taken by Uri Goldman from Denmark.

He had spent a week taking black and white photographs in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, mostly taking pictures of big cats.  

After six days he came across six giraffes walking in formation. He followed and when three broke away and walked into the shadows he got this incredible shot.

British photographer Luke Masey captured this amazing shot of a flock of Lillian's lovebirds congregating on the coast during the drought in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.

Dark side of the plains, taken by Uri Goldman from Denmark after six days of waiting in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya
Dark side of the plains, taken by Uri Goldman from Denmark after six days of waiting in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

Dark side of the plains, taken by Uri Goldman from Denmark after six days of waiting in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

Pool Party: Lilian's lovebirds, also known as, Agapornis lilianae, bathe in South Luangwa NP in Zambia. Taken by British wildlife photographer Luke Masey
Pool Party: Lilian's lovebirds, also known as, Agapornis lilianae, bathe in South Luangwa NP in Zambia. Taken by British wildlife photographer Luke Masey

Pool Party: Lilian's lovebirds, also known as, Agapornis lilianae, bathe in South Luangwa NP in Zambia. Taken by British wildlife photographer Luke Masey

 Charl Senekal, from South Africa took the below shot of five zebras called 'The Nightcap'.

The herd came out to a waterhole during the dry season in the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa. 

Another South African photographer, Jan Kolbe saw a small southern white faced owl nesting in a tree at a campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. 

Charl Senekal, from South Africa took the below shot of five zebras called 'The Nightcap'. The herd came out to a waterhole during the dry season in the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa.
Charl Senekal, from South Africa took the below shot of five zebras called 'The Nightcap'. The herd came out to a waterhole during the dry season in the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa.

Charl Senekal, from South Africa took the below shot of five zebras called 'The Nightcap'. The herd came out to a waterhole during the dry season in the Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa.

What are you looking at? Another South African photographer, Jan Kolbe saw a small southern white faced owl nesting in a tree at a campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa
What are you looking at? Another South African photographer, Jan Kolbe saw a small southern white faced owl nesting in a tree at a campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

What are you looking at? Another South African photographer, Jan Kolbe saw a small southern white faced owl nesting in a tree at a campsite in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Hammerhead by Adriana Barques: Adriana took the photo of a hammerhead of a 'clear day' with 'good visibility' off the waters  off the Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Hammerhead by Adriana Barques: Adriana took the photo of a hammerhead of a 'clear day' with 'good visibility' off the waters  off the Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Hammerhead by Adriana Barques: Adriana took the photo of a hammerhead of a 'clear day' with 'good visibility' off the waters  off the Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Brazilian American Adriana Barques took this shot of scalloped hammerhead sharks in the waters off Cocos Island, Costa Rica.

It's a particularly tricky shot as the currents are often tough and the visibility is unclear - but Adriana was lucky during the day of the dive.   

After a school of cottonmouth jacks swam by, she waited to see if a hammerhead shark may appear. When it did, she took the shot.

Grooming the descendant by Claudio Contreras Koob, Mexico: This flamingo chick was only five days old when this photo was taken in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, Mexico
Grooming the descendant by Claudio Contreras Koob, Mexico: This flamingo chick was only five days old when this photo was taken in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, Mexico

Grooming the descendant by Claudio Contreras Koob, Mexico: This flamingo chick was only five days old when this photo was taken in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, Mexico

Claudio Contreras Koob from Mexico captured this shot of a fluffy Caribbean flamingo chick before the bird was even five days old.  

It was being preened by one of its parents in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, Mexico.

As the chick was still in its nest and highly sensitive to the human presence, Claudio had to hide while taking these shots. 

The below is called 'Cleaning Season' and was taken by Jordi Chias Pujol from Spain.

It was taken in the protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain. 

Jordi approached the wrasses and took a shot while they were went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish often have.

Cleaning session by Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain: It was taken in the protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain. Jordi approached the wrasses and took a shot while they were went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish often have
Cleaning session by Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain: It was taken in the protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain. Jordi approached the wrasses and took a shot while they were went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish often have

Cleaning session by Jordi Chias Pujol, Spain: It was taken in the protected waters around Carall Bernat, Medes Islands, Spain. Jordi approached the wrasses and took a shot while they were went to work picking off the skin parasites, which the sunfish often have

Holding on by Jami Tarris, UK: A touching moment as an infant orangutan lays his small hand ( Pongo pygmaeus ) in the big hand of its mother, Borneo, Indonesia
Holding on by Jami Tarris, UK: A touching moment as an infant orangutan lays his small hand ( Pongo pygmaeus ) in the big hand of its mother, Borneo, Indonesia

Holding on by Jami Tarris, UK: A touching moment as an infant orangutan lays his small hand ( Pongo pygmaeus ) in the big hand of its mother, Borneo, Indonesia

This close-up captures the touching moment an infant lays its small hand in the big hand of its mother in Borneo, Indonesia.  

British Jami took this photograph in Borneo.

She was in the country working on a story about the effects of palm-oil agriculture on orangutan habitat. 

South African Peter Chadwick took the below photo in a protected area of Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

It shows a ranger's bloody hand resting on a heavily grained ivory tusk, which is also covered in the blood of an African elephant. 

Africa's Wildlife Warriors - Blood Ivory:  A rangers hand covered in the blood of an African Elephant that had been shot. The tusks were removed to a place of safe keeping in Zululand, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Africa's Wildlife Warriors - Blood Ivory:  A rangers hand covered in the blood of an African Elephant that had been shot. The tusks were removed to a place of safe keeping in Zululand, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Africa's Wildlife Warriors - Blood Ivory:  A rangers hand covered in the blood of an African Elephant that had been shot. The tusks were removed to a place of safe keeping in Zululand, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Reach for the sky: Steven Baldwin, USA was photographing a group of adult roseate spoonbills in a rookery in Tampa Bay, Florida, when he noticed an unusual bird flying in
Reach for the sky: Steven Baldwin, USA was photographing a group of adult roseate spoonbills in a rookery in Tampa Bay, Florida, when he noticed an unusual bird flying in

Reach for the sky: Steven Baldwin, USA was photographing a group of adult roseate spoonbills in a rookery in Tampa Bay, Florida, when he noticed an unusual bird flying in

Steven Baldwin, from the USA, was photographing a group of adult roseate spoonbills in a rookery in Tampa Bay, Florida, when he noticed an unusual bird flying in.  

He managed to step back and get the stunning symmetrical shot just in time. 

Another American photographer, Josh Anon, was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, when he saw this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice.

Land of Snow and Ice: Josh Anon, from the USA,  was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, when he saw this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice
Land of Snow and Ice: Josh Anon, from the USA,  was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, when he saw this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice

Land of Snow and Ice: Josh Anon, from the USA,  was on a boat in a fjord across from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, when he saw this polar bear walking along the edge of the ice

Leopard gaze, by Martin Van Lokven from the Netherlands taken during a three-week stay in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Leopard gaze, by Martin Van Lokven from the Netherlands taken during a three-week stay in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Leopard gaze, by Martin Van Lokven from the Netherlands taken during a three-week stay in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Martin Van Lokven from the Netherlands spotted Fundi, the female leopard, pictured above, several times during his three week trip to the  Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

One afternoon, Fundi stopped by Martin's car where he got this fantastic shot. 

German photographer Eva Haußner was aiming to get a good shot of this colourful blue feather leg dragonfly in Bad Alexandersbad, Bavaria, Germany.

But she got incredibly lucky when this fly appeared. 

 Brown bears flee to the Kuril Lake in Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, every year due to the millions of Salmon spawning there. Marco Urso from Italy took the below picture of the two brown bears when he noticed how curious they looked. 

Beauty and the beast by Eva Haußner, Germany: Eva captured this shot of a colourful blue feather leg dragonfly in Bad Alexandersbad, Bavaria, Germany
Beauty and the beast by Eva Haußner, Germany: Eva captured this shot of a colourful blue feather leg dragonfly in Bad Alexandersbad, Bavaria, Germany

Beauty and the beast by Eva Haußner, Germany: Eva captured this shot of a colourful blue feather leg dragonfly in Bad Alexandersbad, Bavaria, Germany

The brothers by Marco Urso from Italy:  Brown bears flee to the Kuril Lake in Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, every year due to the millions of Salmon spawning there
The brothers by Marco Urso from Italy:  Brown bears flee to the Kuril Lake in Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, every year due to the millions of Salmon spawning there

The brothers by Marco Urso from Italy:  Brown bears flee to the Kuril Lake in Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, every year due to the millions of Salmon spawning there

Warning wings by Mike Harterink from The Netherlands shows a 'flying' gurnard, which he captured using a slow shutter speed to capture the fish's movement.

He took it after diving off Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean. 

Settled in by Ryan Miller from the USA is shown below.

 Ryan took this photo in Anchorage, Alaska, where moose are often spotted. This bull is known as Hook, Ryan captured the photo in the night, hours before the bull shed his antlers.  

 Shaking off by Connor Stefanison from Canada shows a white snowy owl.

About every five years flocks of snowy owls makes fly down from the Arctic, where they breed, to the Pacific north-west of North America. Connor got this shot in Delta, British Columbia

Warning wings by Mike Harterink from The Netherlands shows a 'flying' gurnard, which he captured using a slow shutter speed to capture the fish's movement. He took it after diving off Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean
Warning wings by Mike Harterink from The Netherlands shows a 'flying' gurnard, which he captured using a slow shutter speed to capture the fish's movement. He took it after diving off Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean

Warning wings by Mike Harterink from The Netherlands shows a 'flying' gurnard, which he captured using a slow shutter speed to capture the fish's movement. He took it after diving off Blue Bead Hole in St Eustatius, Caribbean

Settled in by Ryan Miller from the USA: Ryan took this photo in Anchorage, Alaska, where moose are often spotted. This  bull is known as Hook
Settled in by Ryan Miller from the USA: Ryan took this photo in Anchorage, Alaska, where moose are often spotted. This  bull is known as Hook

Settled in by Ryan Miller from the USA: Ryan took this photo in Anchorage, Alaska, where moose are often spotted. This bull is known as Hook

Shaking off by Connor Stefanison from Canada. About every five years flocks of snowy owls makes fly down from the Arctic, where they breed, to the Pacific north-west of North America. Connor got this shot in Delta, British Columbia
Shaking off by Connor Stefanison from Canada. About every five years flocks of snowy owls makes fly down from the Arctic, where they breed, to the Pacific north-west of North America. Connor got this shot in Delta, British Columbia

Shaking off by Connor Stefanison from Canada. About every five years flocks of snowy owls makes fly down from the Arctic, where they breed, to the Pacific north-west of North America. Connor got this shot in Delta, British Columbia

The Director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon, of the winning image: 'Like our blue whale, Hope, has become, Jo-Anne's inspirational image is a symbol of humanity's power to protect the world's most vulnerable species and shape a more sustainable future for life on our planet. 

'Photographs like Jo-Anne's are a reminder that we can make a difference, and we all have a part to play in addressing our impact on the natural world.

'Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum's annual showcase of the world's best nature photography and photojournalism. 

'Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images shine a spotlight on nature photography as an art formas well as challenge us to address the big questions facing our planet. 

Winner Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photographer, author and educator based in Toronto, Canada. Through her long-term body of work, We Animals, she has been documenting our complex relationship with animals around the globe. Since 1998, her work has taken her to over fifty countries.   

Her photography and writing has been in publications such as National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Lens Culture, the LA Times and Elle Canada. 

More than five million people visit the Natural History Museum every year, and the website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month.


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