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People’s Choice: Best Wildlife Images of 2023

Posted on Feb 9, 2024

WPOTY People’s Choice Winners announced

Snoozing polar bear tops poll of 75,000 votes

A young polar bear drifting off to sleep, on a bed of ice carved into an iceberg, has been voted winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.

Captured by British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani, the winning shot entitled ‘Ice Bed’ was chosen based on 75,000 votes cast globally for the 25 images in the running.

“Nima’s breathtaking and poignant image allows us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet,” observes Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Douglas Gurr. “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.”

Sarikhani adds: “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.”

Aside from the overall winner, four further finalists received ‘Highly Commended’ nods. “The Happy Turtle’ by Tzahi Finkelstein pictures a fascinating interaction between a Balkan pond turtle and a northern banded groundling dragonfly, while ‘Starling Murmuration’ by Daniel Dencescu frames the magical moment the shape of a bird is formed.

Mark Boyd’s ‘Shared Parenting’ shows two lionesses in Kenya’s Maasai Mara grooming one of the pride’s five cubs, and ‘Aurora Jellies’ by Audun Rikardsen features two moon jellyfish illuminated by the aurora borealis in a Norwegian fjord.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. Images from the 59th competition are currently on show in London, and tours selected venues both internationally and around the UK. Winners for the 60thcompetition will be announced at the next annual awards ceremony in October 2024.

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