Where the wild things are

As Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year pic­tures are re­leased SARAH MAR­SHALL sug­gests where you can see the ac­tion for real

Western Mail - - GETAWAY -

COV­ER­ING ev­ery cor­ner of the nat­u­ral world, the Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year com­pe­ti­tion al­ways gen­er­ates in­ter­est, envy and de­bate. Some images are beau­ti­ful, oth­ers are chill­ing – but they al­ways tell an im­por­tant story.

While the win­ners won’t be an­nounced un­til Oc­to­ber 16, sev­eral com­mended shots fea­tured in the ex­hi­bi­tion have been re­leased.

Many were taken in lo­ca­tions ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic and feature on the hol­i­day itin­er­ar­ies be­low...

THE MEERKAT MOB by Ter­tius A Gous

WHERE: Brand­berg Moun­tain, Namibia

WHAT: When an Anchi­eta’s co­bra moved to­wards two meerkat pups, the rest of the pack re­acted al­most in­stantly. Rush­ing back, the 20-strong group split into two: One group grabbed the pups and hud­dled a safe dis­tance away, the other took on the snake.

Fluff­ing up their coats, tails raised, the mob edged for­wards, growl­ing. When the snake lunged, they sprang back. This was re­peated for about 10 min­utes.

HOW: Ex­o­dus (ex­o­dus.co.uk) of­fers a 15-day Dis­cover Nam­bia camping es­corted trip, in­clud­ing a visit to Brand­berg Moun­tain, from £2,479pp, with var­i­ous de­par­tures.

COOL CAT by Isak Pre­to­rius

WHERE: South Luangwa Na­tional Park, Zam­bia

WHAT: This li­on­ess drink­ing from a wa­ter­hole is one of the Mfuwe Lodge pride. Though lions can get most of the mois­ture they need from their prey and even from plants, they drink reg­u­larly when wa­ter is avail­able.

HOW: Ex­pert Africa (ex­pertafrica.com) of­fers a tailormade 9-night Civet Sa­fari to Zam­bia, in­clud­ing a stay at Mfuwe Lodge, from £4,623pp. Flights ex­tra.

MISTER WHISKERS by Val­ter Bernarde­schi

WHERE: Sval­bard, Nor­way

WHAT: Th­ese wal­ruses were feed­ing just off an is­land in the Nor­we­gian ar­chi­pel­ago. The pho­tog­ra­pher put on his wet­suit and slipped into the icy wa­ter. Im­me­di­ately, a few cu­ri­ous wal­ruses – mainly young­sters – be­gan swim­ming to­wards him.

Wal­ruses use their highly sen­si­tive whiskers and snout to search out bi­valve mol­luscs (such as clams) and other small in­ver­te­brates on the ocean floor.

HOW: Aurora Ex­pe­di­tions (au­ro­ra­ex­pe­di­tions.com) of­fers an 11-day Sval­bard Odyssey cruise from £4,000pp, in­clud­ing the op­por­tu­nity to go po­lar snorkelling (£411pp). Flights ex­tra. De­par­tures on July 15 and 25, 2019.

AHEAD IN THE GAME by Nicholas Dyer

WHERE: Mana Pools Na­tional Park, Zim­babwe

WHAT: African wild dog pups play a ma­cabre game of tag with the head of a chacma ba­boon – the re­mains of their break­fast. The en­dan­gered African wild dog is best known for hunt­ing an­telopes, such as im­palas and kudus. But this pack has been reg­u­larly killing and eat­ing ba­boons – highly un­usual, not least be­cause ba­boons are ca­pa­ble of in­flict­ing se­vere wounds.

HOW: Wildlife World­wide (wildlife­world­wide. com) of­fers a tailormade 10-day Zim­babwe High­lights tour, with a stay in Mana Pools, from £5,995pp in­clud­ing flights with var­i­ous de­par­tures.

GLASS-HOUSE GUARD by Wayne Jones

WHERE: Mabini, Philippines

WHAT: On the seabed off the coast of Mabini, a yel­low pygmy goby guards its home – a dis­carded glass bot­tle.

It is one of a pair. The fe­male will lay sev­eral batches of eggs, while the male per­forms guard duty at the en­trance.

HOW: Dive World­wide (di­ve­world­wide. com) of­fers a 10-day Philip­pine Se­cret Dive Sa­fari from £2,095pp, in­clud­ing flights. Var­i­ous de­par­tures from March to May.

■ The Wildlife Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year ex­hi­bi­tion runs at Lon­don’s Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum from Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 19 un­til sum­mer 2019. Tick­ets cost £15 for adults, £9 for chil­dren.

Visit nhm.ac.uk/wpy

Ahead in the Game The Meerkat Mob Mister Whiskers: Con­cen­trat­ing on the tusk in hand

Cool Cat Glass-House Guard

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