Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 Winners Announced

A picture of a tigress, hunted to the verge of extinction, hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree in the Russian Far East has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2020.

With more than 49,000 entries to choose from, judges from the Natural History Museum described the picture as a "scene like no other".

The winning entry, titled The Embrace, took the photographer, Sergey Gorshkov, 11 months to capture using hidden cameras.

Dr. Tim Littlewood, the museum's executive director of science, praised Gorshkov's picture as one that offered hope.

He 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 unique emotive power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to protect it."

Chair of the judging panel, writer and editor, Rosamund 'Roz' Kidman Cox said it was a scene like no other.

She said: "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 color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness."

Sergey Gorshkov/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The overall winner of this year's Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Awards Sergey Gorshkov/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Among the other category winners, including a picture titled the Fox That Got The Goose by Liina Heikkinen which won the Young Wildlife Photographer Of The Year award.

Liina had heard about a large fox family living in the city suburbs on the island of Lehtisaari and decided to spend a day in July watching the two foxes and their cubs.

Liina Heikkinen
The fox that got the goose by Liina Heikkinen, Finland. Liina Heikkinen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

A Mean Mouthful by Sam Sloss, won the 11-14 category. During a diving holiday in north Sulawesi, Indonesia, he captured the clownfish with its mouth constantly open.

A mean mouthful
A mean mouthful by Sam Sloss was winner of the 11 to 14 years old category Sam Sloss/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

Perfect balance by Andrés Luis Dominguez Blanco from Spain won the 10 Years And Under category where he captured a stonechat landing perfectly on a branch. The stonechat kept perfect balance and Andrés framed his perfect composition.

Perfect balance
Perfect balance by Andrés Luis Dominguez Blanco, Spain, was winner of the 10 years and under category Andrés Luis Dominguez Blanco/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

An entry titled The Pose won the animal portraits category. It shows a young male proboscis monkey cocking his head slightly and closes his eyes, almost as if in meditation.

The Pose
The Pose won the Animal Portraits Award Mogens Trolle/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

A Tale Of Two Wasps by Frank Deschandol from France was the winner of the Behaviour: Invertebrates category.

It shows a a red-banded sand wasp (left) and a cuckoo wasp, about to enter next-door nest holes in Normandy, France.

Two Wasps
A tale of two wasps by Frank Deschandol, France Frank Deschandol/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Mammals category was won by Shanyuan Li from Chian for her entry When Mother Says Run.

It shows a rare picture of a family of Pallas's cats, or manuls, on the remote steppes of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau in northwest China and is the result of six years' work at high altitude. These small cats are normally solitary, hard to find and mostly active at dawn and dusk.

Pallas’s cats
This rare picture of a family of Pallas’s cats won the Behaviour, Mammals category Shanyuan Li/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Life in the balance by Jaime Culebras from Spain was announced as winner of the Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles category.

It shows a Manduriacu glass frog snacking on a spider in the foothills of the Andes, northwestern, Ecuador. As big consumers of invertebrates, glass frogs play a key role in maintaining balanced ecosystems.

Jaime Culebras
Life in the balance by Jaime Culebras, Spain, won the Behaviour, Amphibians and Reptiles category Jaime Culebras/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Great crested sunrise by Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez, also from Spain was the winner of the Behaviour: Birds category. After spending several hours up to his neck in water, his entry shows a great crested grebe family.

Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez
Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez spent several hours under water in order to take this pic Jose Luis Ruiz Jiménez/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Earth's Environment category winner was Etna's river of fire by Luciano Gaudenzio.

Showing a great gash on the southern flank of Mount Etna, it captures lava flowing within a huge lava tunnel, re-emerging further down the slope as an incandescent red river, veiled in volcanic gases.

To capture the scene, Luciano and his colleagues had trekked for several hours up the north side of the volcano, through stinking steam and over ash-covered chaotic rocky masses.

Luciano Gaudenzio
Luciano and his colleagues had trekked for several hours up the north side of the volcano to take this picture Gaudenzio/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Songda Cai's entry, the golden moment, won the Underwater category for capturing a tiny diamondback squid paralarva flitting below in the blackness, momentarily stopping hunting for an instant when caught in the light beam.

Under water category
Winner of the underwater category Songda Cai/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Urban Wildlife category which was won by Alex Badyaev, shows a Cordilleran flycatcher, which is declining across North America, nesting in crevices and on canyon shelve.

Alex Badyaev
Winner of the Urban Wildlife category Alex Badyaev/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

Eleonora's gift by Alberto Fantoni won the Rising Star Portfolio award. It shows a male Eleonora's falcon brings his mate food on the steep cliffs of a Sardinian island.

Alberto Fantoni
Eleonora’s gift by Alberto Fantoni Alberto Fantoni/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Photojournalist Story Award was picked up by Paul Hilton. It shows a young pig-tailed macaque who is put on show chained to a wooden cage in Bali's bird market, Indonesia.

Paul Hilton/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Winner of the Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award Paul Hilton/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The last bite by Ripan Biswas from India captures a giant riverine tiger beetle trying to pull away as a weaver ant pulls at its leg.

The last bite by Ripan Biswas
The last bite by Ripan Biswas won the Portfolio Award Ripan Biswas/Wildlife Photographer of the Year