Life Science Environment Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award

Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award

The "stirring and symbolic" image stood out in the Natural History Museum's annual competition. Photo: ABC/Robert Irwin
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Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin has won the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award with a drone image of a raging Cape York bushfire.

Mr Irwin, whose father Steve was a world-famous conservationist, said his hobby was “about telling a story to make a difference for the environment and our planet”.

“I feel it is particularly special for this image to be awarded, not only as a profound personal honour but also as a reminder of our effect on the natural world and our responsibility to care for it,” he said.

Director of London’s Natural History Museum, Dr Doug Gurr, said the image was “both stirring and symbolic”.

“Last year the world stood aghast at the devastating wildfires that struck much of Australia, and this photograph depicts just one example of a staggering biodiversity loss caused by the detrimental impacts of climate change, habitat loss and pollution,” he said.

“But it is by no means too late for us to act.

“I hope those who see this image are enthused to learn more about the problems our natural world faces but also to take action in their daily lives – be it changing dietary or travel habits or even joining a local wildlife volunteering group.”

Selected from a shortlist of 25 images, chosen by the Natural History Museum from over 49,000 images that were submitted for their annual competition, Mr Irwin’s, and four other photographs, stood out as favourites.

The five images will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London when the Museum reopens.

The exhibition will now be open until August 1, 2021.

Joseph Wachira comforts Sudan, the last male northern white rhino left on the planet, moments before he passed away at Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. Photo: ABC/Ami Vitale
Andy Parkinson took this shot of a curled up hare in the snowy drifts of Scotland. Photo: ABC/Andy Parkinson

The popular images include Ami Vitale’s heart-warming portrayal of a bond between ranger and rhino and the wonderfully composed wintry portrait from Andy Parkinson (both above); an innovative remote capture of two squirrels from Neil Anderson and a meeting between a worried looking Labrador in a car and an enormous moose, taken by Guillermo Esteves (below).

As the weather grew colder, two Eurasian red squirrels (only one is clearly visible) found comfort and warmth in a box the photographer had put up in one of the pine trees near his home in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: ABC/Neil Anderson
The worried looking expression on this dog’s face speaks volumes and is a reminder that moose are large, unpredictable, wild animals. Taken at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, US. Photo: ABC/Guillermo Esteves

Here are the photos that earned a Highly Commended award from the judges last year:

Some Australian images made the Highly Commended list, like these cheeky possums captured by Gary Meredith in Yallingup, WA. Photo: ABC/Gary Meredith/Wildlife Photographer Of The Year
Dhritiman Mukherjee captured this busy picture of a male gharial covered in his offspring in northern India. Photo: ABC/Dhritiman Mukherjee/Wildlife Photographer Of The Year
Jose Fragozo’s entry of a hippopotamus emerging from the mud was taken in Kenya’s Mara River in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Photo: ABC/Jose Fragozo/Wildlife Photographer Of The Year
Arshdeep Singh, 13, entered this picture of this threatened species into the 11-14 age group. Photo: ABC/Arshdeep Singh/Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

An exhibition of the images judged in the 2020 competition opened in October last year at the Natural History Museum in London.

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