The breathtaking photos from the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for 2016 have been revealed.
American photographer Tim Laman has won the annual competition for his image Entwined lives, beating almost 50,000 other entries from 95 countries.
Entwined lives: Tim Laman, USA
His incredible photograph frames a critically endangered Bornean orangutan above the Indonesian rainforest in West Kalimantan. The young male is making a 30-metre climb up the thickest root of the strangler fig that has entwined itself around a tree emerging high above the canopy.
Tim had to do three days of climbing up and down a rope to place in position several Go Pro cameras that he could trigger remotely to give him a chance of not only a wide-angle view of the forest below but also a view of the orangutan’s face from above.
Take a look at some of the other amazing images below:
The moon and the crow: Gideon Knight, UK
The Young Wildlife Photographer if the Year was taken out by 16-year-old Gideon Knight for the above image. Shot near his London home, it shows the twigs of a sycamore tree silhouetted against the blue dusk sky and the full moon, which "made it feel almost supernatural, like something out of a fairy tale," says Gideon.
Wild West stand-off: Charlie Hamilton James, UK
In this amazing image, a grizzly bear charges at ravens trying to grab a piece of the feast in Grand Teton National Park (part of Yellowstone) in the western US. "Approaching a bear’s lunch is a dangerous thing to do," says Charlie. So there were strict protocols for getting out of his vehicle every time he went to check his camera trap. Over nearly five months, he had thousands of images of ravens and vultures, but only a few of wolves or bears, and none were up to the high standards he set himself, until this one.
Snapper Party: Tony Wu
For several days each month (in tandem with the full moon), thousands of two-spot red snappers gather to spawn around Palau in the western Pacific Ocean. The action is intense as the fish fill the water with sperm and eggs, and predators arrive to take advantage of the bounty. Having read about the drama, Tony couldn’t understand why there were so few photos of it – until he hit the water there for the first time, in 2012. The currents were unrelenting, which was a struggle for him to keep up with the fast-moving fish. Also, the light was low, and the water was clouded with sperm and eggs. That first attempt failed, but he has returned every year to try to capture the event, until he finally had success with this incredible shot.
The Alley Cat: Nayan Khanolkar, India
This image was captured at night, in a suburb of Mumbai bordering Sanjay Gandhi National Park, where leopards slip through the alleys looking for food. The leopard is not only the most versatile of the world’s big cats but possibly the most persecuted. With growing human-leopard conflicts elsewhere grabbing the headlines, Nayan was determined to use his pictures to show how things can be different with tolerance and planning - and spent four months trying to get the shot he wanted.
The annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards are judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals and highlight some of the big questions for society and the environment.
"The winning images touch our hearts, and challenge us to think differently about the natural world," says Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, London, which runs the competition.