The most gorgeous wildlife photos of 2018 shine a light on nature's bizarre and wonderful beauty
- Wildlife photography can shine a light on pressing environmental issues or simply remind us of the splendor of the natural world.
- Every year, the Natural History Museum in London holds a wildlife photography contest to award some of the best images.
- Here are 14 of their top picks from 2018.
Breathtaking photos of the natural world can bring attention to crises, highlight important environmental issues, or simply fascinate us as they reveal the world's bizarre and beautiful creatures.Eye-catching images of animals can also garner photographers fame and some fortune. Each year, the Natural History Museum in London crowns one lucky camera-holder Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The prize brings international recognition and monetary prizes up to £10,000. (Judges also award a Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year who's under the age of 18.) Advertisement
The images that made the list of winners and finalists this year depict a mother gorilla mourning her dead babe, owls that found refuge in a rusty urban spot, and a Caribbean flamingo behind the steering wheel of a car.
The grand prize went to Marsel van Oosten from the Netherlands, who captured a stunning shot of a pair of monkeys in the mountains of China.Take a look at those images and other stunning photos of the world's most fantastic beasts from the 2018 contest.
Van Oosten, the grand-prize winner, is a professional nature photographer who runs a photography tour business with his wife. He nabbed this photo of a "golden couple" in the Qinling Mountains of China.
Underwater photographer Tony Wu was tickled to meet this Asian sheepshead wrasse off the coast of Japan's Sado Island. The fish's forehead reveals the "burning desire of a male in love," he said.Advertisement
French photographer Greg Lecoeur found this frogfish surrounded by plastic bits in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
Near the top of the world, in Franz Josef Land, Russia, polar bears rule the ice.Advertisement
Photographer Frans Lanting won a Lifetime Achievement Award in this year's contest. This shot shows a watering hole during dry season in Botswana.
In Indonesia, macaque monkeys are put to work in street shows. The animals often work long hours riding bikes or dancing, isolated from crucial social interaction with other monkeys.Advertisement
Bob the flamingo also spends his life in close contact with humans — he is an ambassador for a Caribbean animal rehab center. The bird is pretty comfortable behind the wheel.
Like people, animals mourn their dead relatives. This gorilla mother carried, cuddled, and groomed her infant's corpse.Advertisement
After climbing 2,300 feet in the forests of Bhutan, setting up eight camera traps, and waiting 23 days, photographer Emmanuel Rondeau finally got a close-up shot of a tiger.
Photographer Cristobal Serrano used a drone to spy these seals in one of their favorite resting spots in the Errera Channel of Antarctica.Advertisement
Kids also took some impressive wildlife shots this year. Arshdeep Singh, who started taking pictures when he was six, won the 10-and-under category for this shot of a pair of owls.
Seventeen-year-old Cameron McGeorge has been building drones with his dad for five years, in the hopes of glimpsing whales from above like this.Advertisement
Carlos Perez Naval won the 11- to 14-year-olds category with this morning shot of a sleepy long tailed duck in Norway's Barents Sea.
The grand-prize winner of the museum's Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest spotted an extremely elusive animal: an African leopard.Advertisement
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