Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 Winners: Blue-faced Golden Monkeys and More

Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 title for his extraordinary image of golden snub-nosed monkeys.
01 © Marsel van Oosten - Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 Winners: Blue-faced Golden Monkeys and More Marsel van Oosten/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018

The winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have been revealed in a ceremony at London's Natural History Museum, which runs the international competition.

Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 title for his extraordinary image "The Golden Couple," which frames a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys in the temperate forest of China's Qinling Mountains, the only habitat for these endangered primates. The winning portrait captures the beauty and fragility of life on earth, and a glimpse of some of the extraordinary, yet relatable, beings we share our planet with.

Marsel had to wait patiently for many days before the conditions enabled him to capture this image, which shows off the male monkey's golden locks and his striking blue face.

The chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox, said: "This image is in one sense traditional—a portrait. But what a striking one, and what magical animals. It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished. It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world."

Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon said: "In a world which is in thrall to special effects, this image celebrates the majestic and otherworldly presence of nature, and reminds us of our crucial role in protecting it."

Sixteen-year-old Skye Meaker took the award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 with his charming portrait of a leopard waking from sleep in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana. Skye has wanted to be a nature photographer since receiving his first pocket camera at the age of seven.

"With precisely executed timing and composition, we get a coveted glimpse into the inner world of one of the most frequently photographed, yet rarely truly seen, animals," said competition judge and previous competition winner Alexander Badyaev.

The two images were selected from 19 category winners, depicting the incredible diversity of life on our planet, from displays of rarely seen animal behavior to hidden underwater worlds. Images from professional and amateur photographers were judged by a panel of industry-recognized professionals for their originality, creativity and technical excellence.

Beating more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries, Marsel and Skye's images will be on show in stunning lightbox displays with 98 other spectacular photographs. The exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London opens on October 19, 2018 before touring across the U.K. and internationally to locations such as Canada, Spain, the U.S., Australia and Germany.

New for 2018 is the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year acclaimed nature photographer Frans Lanting is being honored for his outstanding contribution to wildlife conservation over more than three decades. A showcase of his timeless photography will feature in the exhibition.

Open to photographers of all ages and abilities, the 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday October 22.

02 © Joan de la Malla - Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Winner 2018, Wildlife Photojournalism: The sad clown by Joan de la Malla, Spain.Timbul, a young long-tailed macaque, instinctively puts his hand to his face to try to relieve the discomfort of the mask he has to wear. His owner is training him to stand upright so that he can add more stunts to his street‑show repertoire (the word 'Badut' on the hat means clown). When he’s not training or performing, Timbul lives chained up in his owner’s yard next to a railway track in Surabaya, on the Indonesian island of Java. Should he show aggression as he gets older, his teeth might be pulled out or he will just be disposed of. Macaque street shows are banned in several cities, but still take place elsewhere in Indonesia. The macaques often work for hours performing tricks such as dancing and riding bikes. When the owners themselves aren’t working, they might rent out the monkeys. Animal-welfare charities are working at both political and community level to reduce the suffering of these monkeys and to enforce legislation that makes it illegal to take young monkeys from the wild or trade in them without a permit. But the welfare issues reflect other, deeper problems of social justice. Joan spent a long time gaining the trust of the monkey owners in Surabaya. "They are not bad people," he says, "and by doing street shows, they can afford to send their children to school. They just need other opportunities to make a living."Nikon D810 + 24–70mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f2.8; ISO 100; Speedlight SB-800 flash. Joan de la Malla/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018