24 Photos, Winners Of World Nature Photography Awards

The Grand Prize of the World Nature Photographer Awards (WNPA) this year has been awarded to British photographer Tracey Lund for her image of two underwater gannets fighting for a fish off the coast of the Shetland Islands.

The overall and category winners were chosen from a pool of thousands of entries fielded from all corners of the globe. The winner pockets $1,000.

MORE FROM FORBES23 Amazing Photos Winners Of World Nature Photography Awards

From the tender image of a mother elephant and her baby to the terrifying moment a cheetah captures a zebra’s foal as his mother tries in vain to defend him, the winning photos show spectacular moment of life on our precious and endangered planet.

The World Nature Photography Awards were founded in the belief that we can all make small efforts to shape the future of our planet in a positive way and that photography can influence people to see the world from a different perspective and change their own habits for the good of the planet.

“We believe in the power of photography to put a spotlight on the majesty and wonder of the natural world around us, reminding us to take action now to secure a better tomorrow for us all,” the award organizers write. “The mission of the World Nature Photography Awards is to celebrate the world’s best nature photographers whilst showcasing nature’s beauty to a wider audience.”

This year, for the first time, a selection of the winning images from both this year’s and previous years’ winners is available to purchase as wall art and for every piece sold the WNPA will plant a tree.

Call for entries for 2025 awards is already open.

Mammals and Birds behavior

Those tragic last seconds of a young zebra’s life were recorded by Alexander Brackx. “That morning, we decided to follow four cheetahs on the hunt,” he recounts. “We followed them for hours. We passed herds of topis, gazelles, and zebras. We knew something was going to happen. When, five hours later, our Maasai guide whispered, ‘they are going for the zebras,’ I was convinced they would attack the topis or gazelles dotted across the valley.

Seconds later, the cheetahs burst into a small group of zebras. One cheetah ran towards us, clinging onto a foal. In those seconds, I took this picture of the mother zebra launching a last attempt to push her foal away from the attacking cheetah. She failed. I will remember those last seconds for the rest of my life.”

Animal Portraits

“I was aware of this black anglerfish living in a reef where I regularly dive and had in mind a portrait that would emphasize the character of this ambushed predator,” said Nicols Remy.

Black and white

Said Richard Li: “In a hidden shelter in Kenya, I patiently waited until late into the night to capture the graceful moment when a leopard approached the pond, elegantly turning around.”

In April, Ospreys return to Finland, but most lakes are still frozen. That creates a lot of action at places with open water. This photo was taken against the rising sun from a low-level photo hide maintained by the Finnish Osprey Foundation. The backlit water drops make this photo stand, but what is more difficult to see is that the osprey actually caught two fish on this dive.

Animals Behavior

Nubian Ibex battle on the edge of the cliff with the beautiful backdrop of the Zin Desert mountains. During the rut, males fur becomes darker in areas such as front chest and legs, the neck muscles thicken and they fight for the right to breed.

The battle usually begins with a display of horns while tilting the head to the sides. In the second stage, if a fight develops, the males push each other as they both turn their heads and the base of their horns towards each other. If the opponents are equal, more vigorous fighting ensues as the males stand on their hind legs and strike each other. In this mode, the collision of the horns make a loud sound that can be heard far and wide.

Despite these violent fights, there is no damage to the skull, although sometimes horns get broken. Courting males seldom feed and expend much energy on fighting or mating, sometimes resulting in severe deterioration of their physical condition.

“I envisioned and dreamed about such kind of a image for many years since I started following and photographing the Nubian Ibex herd that live in this stunning environment,” explained Amit Eshel. “I have never had a chance to do it until that special morning when I spotted these adults males just after sunrise on the cliff above me as they just started battling. I wanted to include the Zin valley and mountains in the image so I made my way up the cliff In a careful detour not to spook them and slowly positioned myself closer and closer to achieve the composition and angle of sunlight I envisioned in my mind.”

“I took this image during a trip to the Galápagos Islands,” said John Seager. “The islands are full of iconic marine iguanas and lava lizards. This was the only time I saw a lizard basking on the head of an iguana, both obviously enjoying the occasion with beatific smiles.”

It was late afternoon in Puerto Egas, Santiago Island, Galapagos, and the colorful Sally Light Foot Crabs were returning to the lava-rock-encrusted shoreline. “I knew that when a wave came in, the crabs would lock down, holding on tight so they did not get washed away,” said Bill Klipp.

“This little beauty is the cuckoo wasp, also called an emerald wasp,” said Kevin Blackwell. “These incredible animals are not much bigger than a small grain of rice. It’s always amazing to see the detail in these tiny creatures every time I photograph them.”

Underwater

A female orca splits a herring bait ball while diving through it in this photo shot from underneath while free-diving.

Every winter, enormous schools of herring migrate from the open ocean into the fjords of Northern Norway and attract large numbers of big predators such as orcas and humpback whales.

Witnessing orcas feeding on herring using the so-called carousel feeding technique is very exciting but not easy to capture due to various factors: limited light and visibility, fast-paced action plus cold surface and water temperature. “Being able to free-dive and capture the action on an ongoing feeding frenzy in these conditions is difficult but I managed to create a series of photos I had never dreamt of capturing,” said a grateful Andy Schmid.

This arresting image was taken in the splendid location of Capo Noli in Italy’s Savona province. Jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca is also called light jellyfish.

Nature as art

Icy blue watery veins, shimmering glacial braids and glistening golden sediment come together to provide a delightful mirage for the human eye. Is it a beautiful elephant with a flowing lion’s mane? Or a lion’s head with luxurious flowing braids? It’s up to you and your imagination. This is the gift of Iceland’s magical topography.

Every autumn, the aspen trees in the Rocky Mountains put on a brilliant display of color for a few short but dazzling weeks. This grove, just outside their namesake town of Aspen, Colorado, is especially dense and vibrant.

People and nature

Traditional stilt fishermen try their luck with the changing tide at sunset in Koggala, Sri Lanka. It showcases the water movement in contrast to the stillness of the fishermen. Traditional, artisanal fishing methods like these, used for subsistence, do not pose significant threats to the ocean’s natural resources and, on the contrary, convert local communities into stakeholders of the ocean’s health.

Plants and Fungi

A photographer whom I respected took me to Doi Hua Mot Mountain, Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Tak Province, Thailand, to meet a kind of living organism with a strange shape that looked like an owl,” said Chatree Lertsintanakorn.

Urban Wild Life

A nest built on a half-broken dragon mobile hangs on the porch of a house, constantly moving in all directions by the wind.

“I watched for hours as the male and female flew in turns to add a twig, feather, hair and even clothes tags that they collected nearby to build this perfectly shaped nest that can hold several eggs,” said Roy Wiesner. “They flew back and forth for days, mission driven, unfazed by the humans sitting nearby. Finally, the female was content and agreed to pose at the entrance to her new home.”