Wildlife Photographer of the Year: The best images of 2019

15 October 2019, 19:39 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:26

An image of a stand-off between a Tibetan fox and a marmot has been named the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The photograph, taken by Chinese entrant Yongqing Bao, captures the two animals confronting each other in an apparent life-or-death scenario.

Titled The Moment, the image was taken on the alpine meadowland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China and shows the fox rushing towards its prey as the marmot reacts with its paw outstretched.

More than 48,000 people from 100 countries entered this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, which is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London.

Chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox, says Yongqing's image is "simply the perfect moment".

"The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance," she said.

Natural History Museum director Sir Michael Dixon said it serves as a reminder to protect the world's wildlife.

He said: "The area in which this was taken, often referred to as the 'third pole', because of the enormous water reserves held by its ice fields, is under threat from dramatic temperature rises like those seen in the Arctic. "

The award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year went to 14-year-old Cruz Erdmann for his picture of an iridescent bigfin reef squid captured on a night dive in the Lembeh Strait off North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Cruz inherited his father's old underwater camera and has been in love with the ocean from an early age.

He gained his diving certification at 10 years old.

Theo Bosboom, a nature photographer and member of the judging panel, said the image was a "resounding achievement" for the young photographer.

"To dive in the pitch dark, find this beautiful squid and to be able to photograph it so elegantly, to reveal its wonderful shapes and colours, takes so much skill," he said.

Other shortlisted photographs include Luis Vilarino Lopez's image of lava flows on one of the world's most active volcanoes, Kilauea, on Hawaii's Big Island, and Max Waugh's picture of an American bison standing in a snow storm in Yellowstone National Park.

Another is Jasper Doest's photograph of Riku, a Japanese macaque who performs comedy skits at the Nikko Saru Gundan theatre in Japan.

The photographs will be on display at the Natural History Museum from 18 October before touring across the UK and internationally.