1.- First place, «Behaviour—Mammals», and overall winner of the grand prize. Amos Nachoum.
For hours, I waited for low tide along a shallow lagoon on a remote island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Punctual as clockwork, the leopard seal reached the lagoon just before low tide. He put his head in the water and it looked like a rock sitting in the receding water.
The young gentoo penguins dare to enter the water only when it is shallow, and when they got close enough to the seal, it quickly turned its head, caught one of the penguins by the feet and dragged it into deep water.
Once the seal reached open water, I followed and swam parallel to it, observing its actions. To my surprise, he released the penguin twice. Each time, the seal chased after the penguin again, as if enjoying the game. The terrified penguin tried to escape while the game continued. But soon, the end came.
2.- Second place, «Portraits of animals». Neelutpaul Barua.
This mother bear had had a long day of fishing, supporting herself and her cubs. When he sat down nearby to rest for a bit, the two cubs continued to play. Lying on the ground, I was able to frame at eye level that vividly captured the expression of a watchful mother and the carefree nature of her cubs. Location: South Kamchatka Sanctuary, Russia.
3.- First place, «Behavior—Invertebrates». Teo Chin Leong.
The common fire ant is resourceful at traversing terrain. When scout ants at the front encounter a water hazard, they intuitively form an “ant bridge” with their bodies, so that their fellow ants at the rear of the group can cross. Location: Indonesia.
4.- Tercer lugar, «Comportamiento—Mamíferos». Buddhilini de Soyza.
Monster rains in Kenya’s Masai Mara in January 2020 caused one of the major rivers to flood and become bigger and more violent than ever. This group of five male cheetahs (such a group had never been recorded before) were attempting to cross the river in powerful currents. After hours of careful searching along the shores, they suddenly jumped into the water and began swimming through this whirlpool as we watched, terrified that crocodiles would drag them off or eat them. Their goal was to cross to the other side, which was part of their territory and full of prey. We screamed with joy when we finally saw them cross about 100 meters downstream from where they jumped.
5.- First place, «Portraits of animals». Tom Virus.
Three long-tailed macaques enjoy each other’s warmth during a hot day in Bali, Indonesia. Macaques are used to humans and are commonly found around temples, where they tend to eat food donated by temple visitors.
6.- Third place, «Animals in their Habitat». Christian Tuckwell-Smith.
A lone female polar bear was slowly wandering along an ice edge in front of a massive glacier wall nestled in Isbukta Bay on the east coast of Svalbard. While photographing her from a nearby boat, this huge bear was put into perspective by the towering glacier and gave a sense of the immensity of the frozen desert.
7.- Second place, «Behavior—Birds». Robert J.Ross.
A flock of red-billed queleas takes flight in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve.
8.- Second place, «Behavior—Invertebrates». Lincoln McGregor.
This sphynx moth emerged after sunset to sip nectar from garden flowers, always hovering in the air as it fed in the dim glow of surrounding house lights. For several weeks in summer, throngs of these moths emerge to do the same thing every night. In the evening light, these hawk moths can be difficult to notice; however, their audible wingbeats give away their arrival. It’s exciting to see that around houses in urban backyards, certain forms of wildlife can still thrive. Location: Kangaroo Valley region, New South Wales, Australia.