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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019: Startled marmot staring death in the face wins prestigious international award

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019: Startled marmot staring death in the face wins prestigious international award

An extraordinary image of a standoff between a Tibetan fox and a marmot snapped up the top award at this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Beating over 48,000 entries from 100 countries, Yongqing Bao, from China, produced a powerful frame of both humour and horror in one perfect picture. 

Chair of the judging panel Roz Kidman Cox said: ”Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment. The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance.”

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Natural History Museum director Sir Michael Dixon said: ”This compelling picture captures nature’s ultimate challenge – its battle for survival. The area in which this was taken, often referred to as the ‘third pole’, because of the enormous water reserves held by its ice fields, is under threat from dramatic temperature rises like those seen in the Arctic. At a time when precious habitats are facing increasing climate pressures, seeing these fleeting yet fascinating moments reminds us of what we need to protect.”

Cruz Erdmann, 14, took the award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 with his serene portrait of an iridescent big fin reef squid during a night dive in Indonesia. After inheriting his father’s old underwater camera, Cruz found the perfect medium to express his passion for all things aquatic.

Theo Bosboom, nature photographer and member of the judging panel for WPY55, said: “To dive in the pitch dark, find this beautiful squid and to be able to photograph it so elegantly, to reveal its wonderful shapes and colours, takes so much skill. What a resounding achievement for such a young photographer.”

Both images will feature in a lightbox display, alongside 98 others in an exhibition at the Natural History Museum from 18 October.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London

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