Wildlife Photographer of the Year: ‘Explosive Sex’ wins first prize

By Jonathan Amos
BBC science reporter

image source, Laurent Ballista / WPY

It’s like an underwater explosion. Several camouflaged groupers rush to release their sperm while a female fish drops a batch of eggs.

This photo, taken at Vakarava Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, awarded Laurent Ballista the coveted title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY).

Jury chair Rose Kidman Cox said it was a solid artistic tour.

“It’s the place that was taken partly during the full moon, but also the timing of it, knowing when the photo was taken.”

The annual spawning of camouflaged grouper occurs in July. It is known to attract up to 20,000 fish, along with many reef sharks looking for a meal. Poaching threatens the grouper, but this photo was taken in a reserve that offers it some protection.

“We spent five years in this place, 3,000 hours of diving, to get this very moment,” Laurent said.

“I relate to this photo because of the shape of the egg cloud: it looks like an inverted question mark. It’s a question of the future of these eggs because only one in a million will become (alive) an adult, but it’s probably more symbolic of the future of nature. It’s a very important question about the future of nature. .”

In addition to celebrating the WPY Grand Prix, the French photographer also won the underwater competition category.

image source, Vidyun R Hebbar / WPY

Ten-year-old Vidyun R Hebbar from India is the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for this photo of a tent spider in its web. The image is called Dome Home.

The blurred green and yellow colors in the background belong to one of the three-wheeled taxis.

“His focus is very sharp,” Rose Kidman Cox told BBC News. “You can actually see the little tusks if you copy the picture. I love the way it’s framed and the way you can see all of the web, its reticular structure.”

“The tent spider was hard to focus because the web vibrated every time a car passed,” Vidyun recalls.

WPY started in 1964, and is organized by the Natural History Museum in London.

The competition attracts tens of thousands of entries every year. Scroll down to see some of the individual category winners.

Elephant in the Room by Adam Oswell, Australia

image source, Adam Oswell / WPY

Adam Oswell win in photojournalism This award picture shows zoo visitors in Thailand watching a baby elephant perform underwater. Elephant tourism has increased across Asia. In Thailand, there are now more elephants in captivity than in the wild.

Therapeutic Touch, from Community Care by Brent Stirton, South Africa

image source, Brent Stirton / WPY

Brent Stirton got Photojournalist Story Award. His photo sequence provides a glimpse into a rehabilitation center that takes care of chimpanzees orphaned by the bushmeat trade in Africa. The center’s director was seen presenting newly rescued chimpanzees to others in her care.

Face to face by Stefano Untertheener, Italy

image source, Stefano Unterthiner / WPY

WPY always has some great pictures of snowflakes and this wins Behaviour: Mammals category. Stefano Unterturner Watching two Svalbard reindeer battle for control of the harem. Watching the fight, Stefano said he felt immersed in “the smell, the noise, the fatigue and the pain”.

Reflections by Majid Ali, Kuwait

image source, Majed Ali/WPY

Majed Ali They traveled for four hours to meet Kipande, a nearly 40-year-old mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in southwestern Uganda. “The more we climbed, the hotter and more humid it got,” Majed recalls. This photo, which shows Kibande as the cold rain begins, wins animal pictures category.

Road to Ruin by Javier Lafuente, Spain

image source, Javier Lafuente / WPY

Javier Lafuente The photo shows the stark straight line of a road winding through the curves of a wetland that hosts more than a hundred species of birds, with hummingbirds and bee-eaters among the many migratory visitors. The road, which was constructed in the 1980s to provide beach access, divides the wetland in two. The photo wins Wetlands: the bigger picture category.

Spins in the cradle by Jill Wiesen, Israel/Canada

image source, Jill Wiesen / WPY

Jill Wezen An expert entomologist and photographer. This hunting spider stretches its silk from its spindle to weave in its egg sac. These spiders are common in wetlands and temperate forests in eastern North America. The image wins with the extension Behaviour: Invertebrates category.

The annual exhibition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year opened at NHM on Friday, 15 October, before touring across the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the US and more.

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