by Sergey Gorshkov, of Russia, was announced grand title winner in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards during an online ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum in London, UK. With an expression of sheer ecstasy, a tigress hugs an ancient Manchurian fir, and rubs her cheek against its bark to leave secretions from her scent glands. She is an Amur, or Siberian, tiger in the Russian Far East.
SELECTED from more than 49 000 entries from around the world, the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were revealed during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum, London this week.
Sergey Gorshkov was announced this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Y0ear for his magnificent image, The Embrace, of an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir in the Russian Far East.
Amur, or Siberian, tigers are only found in this region and it took more than 11 months for the Russian photographer to capture this moment with hidden cameras.
Judging panel chairperson and renowned writer and editor Rosamund Kidman Cox said: “It’s a scene like no other. A unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest. Shafts of low, winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in obvious ecstasy and inhales the scent of tiger on resin, leaving her own mark as her message. It’s also a story told in glorious colour and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness.”
Jury member and Natural History Museum Executive Director of Science Dr Tim Littlewood said, hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century, the Amur population is still threatened by poaching and logging today.
“The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts. Through the emotive power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to protect it,” Littlewood said.
Liina Heikkinen won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 award for her dramatic image, The Fox That Got The Goose. With feathers flying, the young fox is framed as it refuses to share the barnacle goose with its five sibling rivals. Liina is the youngest of a family of wildlife photographers and has spent much of her childhood immersed in nature in her homeland of Finland.
“A sense of furtive drama and frantic urgency enlivens this image, drawing us into the frame. The sharp focus on the fox’s face leads us straight to where the action is. A great natural history moment captured perfectly,” said jury member and wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri.
The images will be showcased in exquisite lightbox displays at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, opening today, before touring across the UK and to venues in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany and more.
For photographers of all ages, nationalities and abilities, the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday.