A superb underwater scene crowned wildlife photographer of the year 2021


By Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

The winning images for this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were released after a record number of entries were submitted, with a compelling underwater shot winning the top prize.

Organized by the Natural History Museum in London, the 57th edition of the competition saw 50,000 entries from 95 countries vying for a prize – with shots ranging from a reindeer fight to a poisonous spider hiding under a bed.

French underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 for his photo of camouflaged groupers emerging from their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in a biosphere reserve in Fakarava, French Polynesia.

Ballesta returned to Fakarava Lagoon for five years in a row to capture the annual spawning which takes place around the July full moon. Camouflaged groupers are a vulnerable species threatened by overfishing, the museum said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In what could be a pivotal year for the planet, with vital discussions taking place at COP15 and COP26, Laurent Ballesta’s Creation is a compelling reminder of what we stand to lose if we don’t tackle the humanity’s impact on our planet, ”Natural History Museum said director Doug Gurr in the press release.

Meanwhile, Indian photographer Vidyun R. Hebbar, 10, received the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for his image of a tent spider in his web, against the backdrop of an auto-rickshaw that past.

Winners were announced in a total of 19 categories, with three new additions this year – “Wetlands”, “Oceans” and “Natural Art”.

Other winning images included a photo by Kuwaiti photographer Majed Ali of a mountain gorilla enjoying a rain shower, and a photo of the fractured sea ice used as a birthing platform for seals by the American photographer. Jennifer Hayes.

The competition for the wildlife photographer of the year 2022 opens on October 18.

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