Wildlife Photographer of the Year - People's Choice

  • Published

This heart-warming image of a gorilla in the arms of one of her rescuers has been selected as the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.

Pikin and AppolinaireImage source, Jo-Anne McArthur / Natural History Museum

The winning image was captured by Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur and shows Pikin, a lowland gorilla who was rescued from poachers by Ape Action Africa. She is pictured in the arms of her caretaker, Appolinaire Ndohoudou, during transportation from an enclosure, within a safe forest sanctuary in Cameroon, to a new larger one.

"'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," says McArthur. "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."

The picture was chosen by almost 20,000 nature fans from a shortlist of 24, selected by the Natural History Museum, from almost 50,000 entries submitted for the 2017 competition.

Finalist: Warm embrace

Debra Garside, Canada

Image source, DEBRA GARSIDE / Natural History Museum

Polar bear mothers and cubs emerge from their dens in the early spring, with the cubs staying close to their mothers for warmth and protection. Debra Garside waited for six days near the den of this family, in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, in Canada, before they finally emerged. In challenging conditions, with temperatures ranging from -35 C (-31 F) to -55 C (-67 F) with high winds, Garside captured this scene.

Finalist: Roller rider

Lakshitha Karunarathna, Sri Lanka

Image source, Lakshitha Karunarathna / Natural History Museum

Lakshitha Karunarathna was on safari in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, when he spotted an unusual sight - a lilac-breasted roller riding a zebra. The colourful bird spent an hour or more riding around and enjoying the occasional insect meal while Karunarathna waited for the surrounding zebras to form the perfect background before making this tight crop.

Finalist: Sloth hanging out

Luciano Candisani, Brazil

Image source, Luciano Candisani / Natural History Museum

Luciano Candisani climbed up this cecropia tree, in the protected Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil, to take an eye-level shot of this three-toed sloth. Sloths like to feed on the leaves of these trees and are often seen high up in the canopy.

Finalist: Elegant mother and calf

Ray Chin, Taiwan

Image source, Ray Chin / Natural History Museum

Every year from July to late October, southern humpback whales migrate north from their Antarctic feeding grounds to give birth in the warm sheltered waters off Tonga. Ray Chin encountered this humpback mother and calf floating in the plankton-filled water around the island group of Vava'u, Tonga. As they made this elegant turn, Chin captured this shot. He later converted the image into black and white, which he felt represented the simplicity of the scene.

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

The winning images will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, until 28 May 2018.