Photography

See the Natural History Museum's Best Wildlife Photos

A 'magical' image of a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys earned Marsel van Oosten the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 award.Wednesday, October 17

By Rachael Bale
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With his photo, titled 'The Golden Couple', Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won Wildlife Photographer of the Year, awarded by the Natural History Museum in London. The striking photo beat over 45,000 entries from 95 countries to win the prestigious award. The image shows a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains is both a traditional portrait, in one sense, and magical in another, said Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, in a press release.

“It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished,” she says. “It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world.”

Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this part of China, and their numbers are decreasing primarily because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.

Three National Geographic photographers also won awards in the competition. Thomas Peschak’s photo of a sharp-beaked finch pecking at the bloodied feathers of a much-larger Nazca booby won in the birds category. 

Thomas Peschak, a National Geographic photographer, took the top spot in the 'birds' category with a photo of a ground finch feeding on the blood of a Nazca booby on Wolf Island, in the northern Galápagos. The finch’s diet normally consists of seeds and insects, which aren’t in regular supply here on the islands, so it makes up for it by feeding on the boobies’ blood. Perhaps most surprisingly, Peschak says the boobies don’t seem to mind.

Jen Guyton, a National Geographic explorer, won the plants and fungi category with a photo of a desert plant called a welwitschia that is native to Namibia and Angola.

Jen Guyton, a National Geographic explorer, won the 'plants and fungi' category with a photo of a welwitschia in the Namib Desert. Individual welwitschia plants can live 1,000 years or more.

And Frans Lanting, a longtime contributor to National Geographic magazine, was awarded the organization’s first-ever lifetime achievement award.

An exhibition of 100 of the best images submitted to this year's competition, including the winners, will open at the Natural History Museum on October 19th, and continue until July 1st, 2019.