Nature is astounding, and it continually impresses us with sheer tenacity, survival, and beauty. The long-running Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition exemplifies this, with some stunning selections. Managed by the managed by the Natural History Museum in London, the contest is in its 55th year. Below are a collection of cute, fierce, and authentic images that show animals in their elements. Via Earther:
“Lucky Break:” A raccoon pokes her head from the broken windshield of a 1970s Ford Pinto on a deserted farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Not visible in the photo are her five kits playing on the back seat.
Image: Jason Bantle, Canada
“Sleeping like a Weddell:” A sleeping Weddell seal, lying on a bed of ice off Larsen Harbour, South Georgia.
Image: Ralf Schneider
“Big Cat and Dog Spat:” A lone cheetah fends off a pack of wild dogs in Zimanga Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The cheetah managed to flee the scene.
Image: Peter Haygarth, UK
“The Climbing Dead.”
Image: Frank Deschandol
“Jelly Baby:” A juvenile jackfish seeks refuge inside a small jellyfish off Tahiti in French Polynesia. It’s not known if the jellyfish benefits from this odd arrangement.
Image: by Fabien Michenet, France
“Beach Waste:” Taken at Alabama’s Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, this photo shows a dead sea turtle still attached to the discarded lawn chair that choked it.
Image: Matthew Ware, USA
“If Penguins Could Fly:” A gentoo penguin flees for its life in response to an attacking leopard seal. The predator toyed with the penguin for around 15 minutes prior to finally ending its torment.
Image: by Eduardo Del Álamo, Spain
“Touching Trust:” An inquisitive young grey whale approaches a pair of human hands extending down from a tourist boat in the waters of Mexico’s Baja California.
Image: Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa
“Canopy Hangout:” A brown-throated three-toed sloth in Panama’s Soberanía National Park.
Image: Carlos Pérez Naval, Spain
Image: Adrian Hirschi, Switzerland
“Cool Drink:” A long-tailed tit sips some water from a dangling icicle on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Image: Diana Rebman, USA
“Circle of Life:” A shoal of bigeye fish circling in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Image: Alex Mustard, UK