A dramatic drone shot highlighting the devastation of a bushfire in Australia by the son of television environmentalist Steve Irwin was voted winner of this year’s Wildlife Photographer People’s Choice Award.
A line of fire is visible in Robert Irwin’s photo, leaving a trail of destruction through the woods near the border of Steve Irwin Wildlife Conservation in Cape York, Queensland.
More than 55,000 votes were cast from around the world in the competition, which awards a photo chosen by the public each year to the Wildlife Imagination as the Natural History Museum’s annual prize, with the other winners being chosen by the judges.
17-year-old Robert said he took the picture after the smoke splashed over the horizon, but needed to hurry up because his drone had only a few minutes of battery left. In a short period of time, he succeeded in obtaining photos – showing ancient greenery on one side, landscape relics on the other, in an area of high conservation value – home to many endangered species.
The Australian nature photographer said he was “incredibly excited” to win the award.
“To me, nature photography is about creating a story for the environment and our planet,” he said. “I think it is particularly special that this image is bestowed not only as an individual personal honor, but also as a responsibility to remind and cherish our impact on the natural world.”
The director of the Natural History Museum, Doug Gure, voted as the winner after being shortlisted 25, describing the image as “moving and symbolic”.
Four other photos were highly recommended.
Last Goodbye by Amy Witley from USA
This heart-breaking image is comforting to the Rhinos of Sudan Moments before his death In 2018 in Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservation in Northern Kenya. At the age of 45, he was the last northern white rhino in the world.
Hare Ball by Andy Parkinson from Britain
Andy Parkinson spent a long time in the cold, with winds of 60mph all around him, to see the mountain near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands. After five frantic weeks, he seized the perfect moment – a small female green body covered in snow dust curling into a perfect circular figure.
Close encounter with Guillermo Esteve from the United States
Moose are large, giant animals – so the look of an anxious look on this dog’s face is a reflection of most people’s reaction when they pose with these antlers. This image, taken from the side of the road at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, shows a large bull showing interest in the canine visitor – luckily with the windshield between them.
Drape Dreaming by Neil Anderson, United Kingdom
Only one is clearly visible, but this photo actually shows two Eurasian red squirrels seeking refuge in a box set up by photographer Neil Anderson in a cedar tree near his home in the Scottish Highlands. Using a WiFi app on his phone, he was able to take pictures of the ground to let the squirrel sleep peacefully.
The five winning photos will be on display at The Museum of Natural History in London, The Year of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, when the venue reopens as an ease of lockdown ban.
The overall winner of the competition was chosen in October 2020, with judges describing Sergey Gorshkov Amazing image of Siberian tiger hugging a tree As a “notable spectacle”.
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