Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022: what photo won - and who was in the shortlist?

Among 25 images shortlisted, favourites included two male lions in the rain and a kangaroo and her joey emerging from the Australian wildfires

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice award was announced on Wednesday 9 February, following an online vote by nature and photography enthusiasts of the shortlisted images.

A shortlist of 25 photos were chosen from the total of 50,000 images from 95 countries submitted for this year’s competition.

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Many in the shortlist proved to be popular but only one could be crowned winner.

Let’s take a look at who won the award, what does the photo look like and who was included in the shortlist?

What photo won?

An image of willows reflected in a frozen Italian lake dedicated to a lost friend won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

The wintry shot of Santa Croce Lake in northern Italy by Italian photographer Cristiano Vendramin came top in the online vote of the 25 shortlisted images.

Mr Vendramin took his winning picture while visiting the lake, noticing the water was unusually high and the willows were partially submerged, creating reflections on the water.

He was reminded of a close friend who had loved the place and who is no longer here.

He said: “I want to think he made me feel this feeling that I’ll never forget.

“For this reason, this photograph is dedicated to him”.

Mr Vendramin added: “I hope that my photography will encourage people to understand that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere around us, and we can be pleasantly surprised by the many landscapes so close to home.

“I believe having a daily relationship with nature is increasingly more necessary to have a serene and healthy life. Nature photography is therefore important to remind us of this bond, which we must preserve, and in whose memory, we can take refuge.”

What photos were in the shortlist?

The shortlist of 25 images were chosen by the Natural History Museum.

Among the 25 pictures, a shot that proved to be a favourite with voters was an image of two male lions in the rain.

A portrait of a kangaroo and her joey emerging from the aftermath of Australian wildfires was also a favourite.

A shot of a surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear cub up a tree also proved popular with the online voters, as well as an image of two male golden pheasants.

Where will the photos be displayed?

The winning photograph and the four runners-up will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.

What’s been said?

Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Douglas Gurr, said: “Cristiano’s poignant image symbolises the positive impact nature can have on our wellbeing and lives.

“It can provide solace and a space to reflect on the past and even spark hope for the future.

“These past two years have redefined what truly matters in life, the people and the environments that play a crucial role in our own personal ecosystems.

“I hope those who look at this landscape frozen in time, are reminded of the importance of connecting to the natural world and the steps we must all take to protect it.”

Here is the full list of photographs included in this year’s shortlist.

  • The ice bear cometh… by Andy Skillen, UK
  • Lynx cub licking by Antonio Liebana Navarro, Spain
  • Shelter from the rain by Ashleigh McCord, USA
  • Lake of ice by Cristiano Vendramin, Italy
  • Living together by Dhritiman Mukherjee, India
  • Jaguar of ashes by Ernane Junior, Brazil
  • Breath of an Arctic fox by Marco Gaiotti, Italy
  • Dolphin hug by Jaime Rojo, Spain
  • The eagle and the bear by Jeroen Hoekendijk, The Netherlands
  • Peek a boo by Michiel Van Noppen, The Netherlands
  • Blackbird backyard by Jan Leßmann, Germany
  • Building an egg case by Javier Aznar González de Rueda by Spain
  • Hope in a burned plantation by Jo-Anne McArthur, Canada
  • The future in her hands by Joan de la Malla, Spain
  • The jump by Karl Samitsch, Austria
  • Life in black and white by Lucas Bustamante, Ecuador
  • All together by Ly Dang, USA
  • Stay close by Maxime Aliaga, France
  • Meercats put on a pose by Thomas Peschak, Germany / South Africa
  • Working together by Minghui Yuan, China
  • Bonds of love by Peter Delaney, Ireland / South Africa
  • Hitching a ride by Wim van den Heever, South Africa
  • Dancing in the snow by Qiang Guo, China
  • Barracudas by Yung Sen Wu, Taiwan
  • Monkey cuddle by Zhang Qiang, China

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