A line-up of photogenic burrowing owls, friendly civets, a hare turned into a sphere, two sleeping squirrels, a weird looking Japanese warbonnet and playful Iberian lynx.
These are only some of the subjects that feature in the list for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s ‘people’s choice’ category, a competition held by the Natural History Museum and the winner will be revealed on 9 February 2021.
The list also includes some heart-breaking images such as a carer’s final goodbye to the last male northern white rhino and the moment three brown bears are chained to the wall in order to rehearse their daily act for the circus.
Family portrait by Andrew Lee: A stunning family picture of nine burrowing owls, all looking straight into the camera. After waiting for days the photographer didn’t miss the opportunity to capture the mother and her eight chicks at Ontario, California
Drey dreaming by Neil Anderson: Two Eurasian red squirrels found the perfect place to warm up, in a nest the photographer had put up in a pine trees near his home in the Scottish Highlands. As the weather gets colder, it’s common for squirrels to share dreys to keep warm
Hare ball by Andy Parkinson: A female hare becomes a perfect sphere protecting itself from the cold. The photographer spent five weeks near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands, waiting patiently in freezing temperatures for the perfect shot
Eye to eye by Andrey Shpatak: The strange looking fish is a Japanese warbonnet captured in the north of the Gulf of Oprichnik in the Sea of Japan. Although they were once considered shy and difficult to observe, they now enjoy swimming close to divers
The last goodbye by Ami Vitale: The heart-breaking moment Joseph Wachira is next to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, during his last moments at Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. Sudan died moments later but was surrounded by his carers
Shut the front door by Sam Sloss: A coconut octopus carrying around its house made of shells taken in Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi. The resourceful creatures are known to make their own protective shells using shells, cocunuts or even glass
White danger by Petri Pietiläinen: A polar bear on a cliff ready to attack the birds that were nesting there- exactly at the moment one of the birds jumps off the cliff. The photo was taken during a trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard
Coexistence by Pallavi Prasad Laveti: An adorable Asian palm civet smiles to the camera from inside a bag as it’s perfectly comfortable among locals at remote village in India. The photographer believes the image symbolises hope as in many parts of the world civets are trapped in cages and used for Kopi Luwak coffee production
A special moment by Oliver Richter : The photographer was lucky enough to capture the beautiful image of a family of beavers near his home in Grimma, Saxony, Germany. Oliver believes the photograph reflects the care the beavers show towards their young
The alpha by Mogens Trolle : A mandrill’s perfect profile, showing its bright snout. Mogens thinks the alpha has been one of the most difficult species to photograph as it prefers to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa
Backstage at the circus by Kirsten Luce: Bear trainer Grant Ibragimov rehearses his daily act with three Siberian brown bears at Saint Petersburg State Circus. In order to strengthen their leg muscles, the bears are chained by the neck to the wall
Spirit of Bhutan by Emmanuel Rondeau: A takin posing for a photo with a beautiful natural background. Emmanuel was on a mission to capture the wildlife of the Bhutanese mountains, as an assignment for WWF UK- and he did so at an altitude of 11,500 feet
Licence to kill by Britta Jaschinski: A zebra’s head placed inside a a shopping trolley. Britta photographs items confiscated at airports and borders in a bid to understand why there is still demand for wildlife products, even if it causes suffering to the animal. This was seized at a border point in the USA
The real garden gnomes by Karine Aigner: Four burrowing owls are posing as nature’s garden gnomes. The photo was taken at Marco Island near the Gulf Coast where there is a big community of burrowing owls
Border refuge by Joseph Dominic Anthony: A stunning image of birds at Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong. The photograph was taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border and took a lot of preparation as the photographer’s goal was to capture the mood of Mai Po in a single image
Resting dragon by Gary Meredith: A lizard captured resting on a wire mesh waiting for the sun. The lizards of The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia, need to adapt to different living conditions and often use man-made structures
Bat woman by Douglas Gimesy: Wildlife rescuer Julie Malherbeshows amazing multitasking skills as she is on the phone helping in the next animal rescue while taking care of three orphaned megabats. Two of the flying-foxes are hanging from a dryer, next to toys while the third one is playfully hanging from the woman’s shirt
Close encounter by Guillermo Esteves: A curious moose is checking out a visitor on the passenger seat. The moose that was captured at the Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, USA approached the car to take a closer look at the dog, that looks worried seeing the massive wild animal so close
Drawn and quartered by Laurent Ballesta: The incredible moment pieces of a fish are falling as two grey reef sharks share a meal was caught on camera at Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia. Some of the rest of the sharks in the underwater photo try to grab some of the falling pieces of the grouper
Baby on the rocks by Frédéric Larrey: A cheeky snow leopard cub got away from its mother and is playing hidden in the rocks. The photographer snapped the image of the six-month-old on the Tibetan plateau where there is a healthy leopard population
Turtle time machine by Thomas Peschak: A group of green turtles enjoying their time in the water at Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas. Fishermen of the area use shellfish scraps to attract them to the dock. Sadly today they are classed as endangered species
Life saver by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano: A beautiful Iberian lynx coming out of an under-road tunnel in Jaen, Spain. explo Sadly many have been casualties of traffic accidents but these tunnels have been proven life-saving.
A window to life by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano: Two adorable Iberian lynx kittens play in the hayloft at eastern Sierra Morena, Spain. Quijote and Queen were born there and they have gradually started exploring the outside world.
Bushfire by Robert Irwin: A fire line destroying everything in its path in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. Sadly the area has over 30 different ecosystems and is home to many endangered species.
Lion king by Wim van den Heever: A male lion lying on a large rock in Serengeti, Tanzania looks straight into the camera, giving the photographer the opportunity to capture the perfect shot- The lion King moments before the storm