A magnificent image of a wild Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir in a Russian forest has won Sergey Gorshkov the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020.
Using hidden cameras in the only region Amur, or Siberian, tigers are found, it took more than 11 months for the Russian photographer to capture his winning moment, The Embrace.
This year’s photographic competition received 49,000 entries from around the world before winners were selected for a number of categories by a panel of judges.
The awards ceremony was live-streamed on Monday 13th October from the Natural History Museum in London where The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, announced Sergey Gorshkov as this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his magnificent image.
Chair of the judging panel, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox says, ‘It’s a scene like no other. 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 colour and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness.’
Dr Tim Littlewood, Natural History Museum’s Executive Director of Science and jury member, says ‘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.’
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 was awarded to Liina Heikkinen from Finland for her dramatic image; The fox that got the goose. With feathers flying, the young fox is framed as it refuses to share the barnacle goose with its five sibling rivals.
‘A sense of furtive drama and frantic urgency enlivens this image, drawing us into the frame. The sharp focus on the fox’s face leads us straight to where the action is. A great natural history moment captured perfectly,’ says Shekar Dattatri, wildlife filmmaker and jury member.
If you would like to see the 2020 shortlisted entries and winners, The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is open to visitors at the Natural History Museum until 6th June 2021.
Tickets must be booked in advance online and cost £14.95 for adults, £ 8.95 for children (under 4 free) with concessions £11.95. To book visit: www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year.html
Open to photographers of all ages, nationalities and abilities, the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries on Monday 19th October 2020 and closes at 11.30am on Thursday 10th December 2020. For information on how to enter go to www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy/competition
Main image: The embrace by Sergey Gorshkov, RussiaWinner 2020, Animals in their Environment, GRAND TITLE WINNER