2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Winners

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Luis Javier Sandoval of Mexico is the winner of the Impressions category by virtue of “Star Player”, the photographer’s stunning shot of a California sea lion pup playing with a starfish. Sandoval captured the fluid scene just offshore at sunrise on Espiritu Santo Island near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Just after Sandoval slipped beneath the waves with his camera, a young sea lion grabbed a starfish of the seafloor and began tossing it to him! Sandoval had to coordinate the sea lion’s antics with the breaking waves in order to make his shot work on all levels.

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“The Moon and the Crow”, by Gideon Knight of the UK, is the winner of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2016. Knight lives near Valentines Park in London and he visits regularly in order to take photographs. One winter evening the perfect tableau presented itself: a rising full moon set in the blue light of dusk formed the perfect backdrop for the spindly twigs of a sycamore tree upon which rested a solitary raven. The various components of the scene “made it feel almost supernatural, like something out of a fairy tale,” said Gideon. For the young photographer, this is one tale that’s come true.

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Ganesh H Shankar of India’s “Eviction Attempt” is the winner of the Birds category. The scene depicts a pair of Indian Rose-ringed Parakeets, annoyed that their roosting and nesting hole high up in a tree in India’s Keoladeo National Park had been taken over by a Bengal Monitor Lizard. Working as a team, the birds harassed the lizard by biting its tail and dive-bombing it when it tried to come out to bask in the sun. The battle raged for a couple of days but each bout only lasted a few of seconds at a time. Shankar had to have quick reflexes in order to capture the essence of the tussle, and adding to the difficulty was the fact he had to shoot against the light. Persistence paid off eventually, however, and just in time: the birds ended up abandoning their efforts and the lizard finally had the hole to him- or her-self. (images and info via WENN.com)

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