A playful polar bear cub, two nuzzling red foxes and golden snub-nosed monkeys huddled together are among the shortlisted images for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award 2022.
The pictures “spotlight important stories of nature from across the globe” and were chosen from 38,575 entries across 93 countries, according to a news release from London’s Natural History Museum, which runs the annual competition.
Through powerful photography, the museum hopes to inspire people to engage with nature and help to protect the planet.
Some photos in the shortlist highlight the threats to wildlife, such as one taken by Eladio Fernandez of fishermen in the Dominican Republic catching endangered glass eels during the night.
Another of golden snub-nosed monkeys huddling together in extreme winter cold in China raises awareness of the endangered species threatened by deforestation.
Dutch photographer Auke-Florian Hiemstra was shortlisted for his image showing a fish trapped in a discarded rubber glove, found in the canals of Leiden.
“The photo confronts us with our throw-away society,” Hiemstra told CNN on Wednesday. “I would like to dedicate this photo to all our clean-up volunteers and litter pickers worldwide, who try to prevent the impact of plastic on our wildlife.”
“Humanity is addicted to plastic, but animals have to face the consequences,” he added. “Hopefully, the image makes people think about their own behavior.”
Members of the public can vote for their favorite of the 25 images using interactive screens at an exhibition at the museum. The top five will be displayed online, alongside category winners from the competition that were chosen by judges and announced earlier this year.
“Voters will have a challenge to choose from this stunning range of photographs which tell vital stories and connect people to issues across the planet,” said Douglas Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, in the news release.
Voting is open until February 2 and the winner will be part of an exhibition that closes on July 2.