Animal lovers and photo lovers alike will now be able to vote for their favorite photos at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award, which is open for public voting on Wednesday.
The short-list images include the kangaroo and its joey among the eucalyptus trees that have been burned as a result of Australia's catastrophic forest fire. Taken from a hot spot in early 2020 by Jo-Anne McArthur from Canada, it shows the devastation caused by a fire that was sweeping through the states of New South Wales and Victoria at the time.
The fires, which killed 34 people, destroyed an area of 44.5 million hectares and affected nearly three billion animals, have been described as “the most devastating natural disaster.”
McArthur's portrait is one of 25 selected images from more than 50,000 submissions from 95 countries, available online and displayed at the Natural History Museum in London until June 5. Voting will be open until February. 2, 2022.
Taiwanese Yung Sen Wu won the photo after spending four days swimming in Palau barracuda.
Taiwanese Yung Sen Wu received the photo after spending four days swimming in Palau barracuda.Yung Sen Wu / Annual Animal Photographer
"The People's Choice Award provides a remarkable insight into nature and our relationships with it, which stimulate our curiosity and strengthen our connection with nature," said Natural History Museum researcher Dr. Natalie Cooper, who sits on the jury panel, said in a statement.
Another entry shows two male lions each in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park under heavy rain. Photographer Ashleigh McCord wrote that it appears that one lion is determined to protect the other from the rain.
U.S. Photographer Ashleigh McCord photographed two lion cubs during a heavy downpour in Maasai Mara, Kenya.
U.S. Photographer Ashleigh McCord photographed two lion cubs during a heavy downpour in Maasai Mara, Kenya. Ashleigh McCord / Animal Photographer of the Year
One contestant shows a close-up photo of a meerkat on South Africa's Tswalu Kalahari Reserve peering into a photographer's lens as the other four behind him stare into the distance. German photographer Thomas Peschak used an unusual method of taking pictures of curious animals, using techniques commonly used to portray humans.
The feature also captures moments between humans and animals, including a photo of a Colombian biologist who calms the Amazon river dolphin and the orangutan kid playing with a caregiver.
A meerkat on the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa was watched by South African German photographer Thomas Peschak.
Meerkat at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa viewing German and South African photographer Thomas Peschak.Thomas Peschak / Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The annual competition is organized by the National History Museum to celebrate both professional and amateur wildlife photographs taken around the world.
"Using the unique dynamic forces of photography, competition and exhibition illuminates the beauty and diversity of the natural world to call for its protection," the statement read Wednesday.
The 58th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, open to people of all ages and nationalities, gives photographers the opportunity to make their images reach millions around the world.
A team of biologists is assisting the dolphin of the Amazon River in Colombia.
A team of biologists is assisting the dolphin of the Amazon River in Colombia. Jaime Rojo / Wildlife Photographer of the Year
For the first time, entry fees are being levied on photographers from 50 countries to encourage more participants from the less represented parts of the world. Countries exempted from the $ 30 ($ 40) inflation include more than a dozen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Afghanistan, Haiti and the Philippines.
Last year’s People’s Choice Awards were won by Robert Irwin, son of the late Australian wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin. His entry featured a picture of a bird's eye view taken by a jet of a forest fire line flying through a wildlife sanctuary in Queensland.