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Annual wildlife photography competition puts a focus on resilience

A photo of a tiny grey-headed flying fox resting at a wildlife centre in Melbourne is among the pictures to be highly commended in the 57th annual Wildlife Photographer of the year awards.

The Natural History Museum in London has released 11 highly commended images on their website in the lead-up to announcing the winners.

The photos span all corners of the globe and are of creatures great and small, with all images united by the theme of resilience.

Museum director Dr Doug Gurr said that the exhibition, which opens on October 15, was “a story of life under pressure” and that he hoped it would inspire greater conservation efforts.

“This year’s inspiring exhibition will move and empower audiences to advocate for the natural world,” said Gurr.

The grey-headed flying fox, featured (above) in the photograph A Caring Hand by Douglas Gimesy, is the largest of Australia’s bats, with a wingspan that can reach up to one meter. It is listed as vulnerable by the Federal Government.

They feed on nectar, pollen and fruits of native trees as well as cultivated gardens and crops.

The flying fox pup in the picture was orphaned at just a couple weeks old, and will require several months of care before being relocated to Melbourne’s Yarra Bend bat colony.

Annual wildlife photography competition puts a focus on resilience

Storm Fox by Johnny Armstrong

This fox, shot by Johnny Armstrong, is one of only two on a small island located within Alaska’s Karluk Lake.

Armstrong followed the vixen across the island for several days, before lying on his stomach to snap this photo of the animal scavenging for salmon scraps in the shallows.

Karluk river is located within Kodak National Wildlife Refuge and home to brown bears, including one which the fox encountered a couple days before the picture.

Armstrong used a manual flash to highlight the vixen with oncoming clouds in the background, earning this image the name Storm Fox, which is highly commended inthe Animal Portraits category. 

Annual wildlife photography competition puts a focus on resilience

Net Loss by Audun Rikardsen

Audun Rikardsen captured this image off the coast of Norway, with thousands of dead herring floating to the horizon.

A large fishing vessel had overfished, and when the net was hauled up it split, dropping the crushed and suffocated herring into the ocean, which lead to Rikardsen naming this photo Net loss.

As well as being highly commended for The Bigger Picture category, Rikardsen’s photos were used as evidence in legal action against the boat owner.

The WWF reported that 29 per cent of the world’s fishing stocks are overfished and that consumption of fish has doubled in the last 50 years globally.

Norwegian herring were almost fished to extinction decades ago and although the fish have experienced a bounce back in population, Rikardsen’s photo serves as a reminder to the perils of the fishing industry.

Annual wildlife photography competition puts a focus on resilience

Apollo Landing by Emelin Dupieux

Emelin Dupieux captured the vulnerable Apollo butterfly near the border of France and Switzerland after stumbling upon a meadow of them while holidaying.

Dupieux’s photo captures the butterfly resting on a daisy, leading to the name Apollo Landing a pun-infused reference to the space shuttle, and the stunning image earned the young photographer a highly commended in the 11-14 Years category.

These ghostly butterflies remain under pressure from deforestation and habitat disruption, and were once named “crimson-ringed” because of the four red spots on their wings, the only vivid colours on the translucent insect.

Winners for the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the year will be announced on October 12, after the competition received a record number of entries.


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