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Images of ‘wonder and woe’ in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

A home-making mason bee, a motherly possum’s midnight munchies and a macaque lying on a deer’s back are just some of highly commended images from this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Other images include a bison kicking up a flurry of snow, a pair of storks against burning grasslands in Kenya and a distressed elephant following a collision with a train.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London, where a selection of 100 images will be exhibited after the winners are announced on October 10.

In its 59th year, the competition received 49,957 entries from photographers hailing from 95 countries, organizers said.

Entries were judged anonymously based on their originality, creativity and technical skill by an international panel of experts, organizers added.

Kathy Moran, chair of the judging panel, said they felt a “powerful tension between wonder and woe” when selecting the images this year.

“What most impressed the jury was the range of subjects, from absolute beauty, rarely seen behaviors and species to images that are stark reminders of what we are doing to the natural world,” she said in a press release.

Doug Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, lauded the competition for showcasing “some of nature’s most wondrous sights whilst offering hope and achievable actions visitors can take to help protect the natural world.”

Photography is a “powerful catalyst for change” when faced with “urgent biodiversity and climate crises,” Gurr added in the release.

Images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum from October 13. The exhibition will then go on a UK and international tour, organizers added.

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