A shot of a sleeping polar bear has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.
A photo of a young polar bear napping on an iceberg has been handed the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.
Nima Sarikhani’s striking Ice Bed, captured off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, is a poignant visual reminder of how fast the ice caps are melting due to rising temperatures.
The winner said that while climate change is the “biggest challenge we face”, he hopes the photo inspires hope.
British amateur photographer scoops the People’s Choice Award
Sarikhani beat stiff competition to scoop the top prize as 75,000 wildlife photography and nature fans worldwide voted to crown the British amateur photographer this year’s winner.
25 outstanding images were in the running for the award, including a happy turtle, co-parenting lions and aurora jellies.
An international judging panel and the Natural History Museum in London, which hosts the overall exhibition, chose the images from almost 50,000 submitted.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is one of the longest-running and most prestigious nature and wildlife photography competitions in the world. It is developed and produced by London’s Natural History Museum.
How Nima Sarikhani captured the iconic polar bear image
Nima Sarikhani, the co-founder of a London-based investment firm, captured the prize-winning shot on a trip with ORYX Photo Tours.
Having spent three days desperately searching for polar bears through thick fog North of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, the expedition vessel Nima was aboard adjusted course.
This change of direction towards the southeast was the lucky break Nima needed as the vessel encountered a young polar bear and an older male.
Just before midnight, the young male climbed onto a small iceberg and, using his powerful paws, clawed away at it to carve out an icy bed for himself before drifting soundly off to sleep. Nima captured the dreamy moment using a Canon EOS-1D X Mark III camera.
Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Douglas Gurr, says, “Nima’s breathtaking and poignant image allows us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet.
His thought-provoking image is a stark reminder of the integral bond between an animal and its habitat and serves as a visual representation of the detrimental impacts of climate warming and habitat loss.”
Nima says: “I am so honoured to have won this year’s People’s Choice award for WPY, the most prestigious wildlife photography competition. This photograph has stirred strong emotions in many of those who have seen it. Whilst climate change is the biggest challenge we face, I hope that this photograph also inspires hope; there is still time to fix the mess we have caused.”
Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award Highly Commended finalists
Four Highly Commended finalists also impressed wildlife lovers, including The Happy Turtle by Tzahi Finkelstein – a cheerful-looking Balkan Pond turtle who shares a blissful interaction with a northern banded groundling dragonfly in Israel’s Jezreel Valley.
‘Starling Murmuration’ by Daniel Dencescu frames the astonishing moment a starling murmuration formed the shape of a bird.
In Mark Boyd’s ‘Shared Parenting’, two lionesses groom one of the pride’s five cubs in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Audun Rikardsen’s ethereal capture ‘Aurora Jellies’ shows two moon jellyfish illuminated by the shimmering northern lights in Norway.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
The five images will be displayed online and in the accompanying exhibition at the Natural History Museum until 30 June.