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2020's funniest wildlife photos

NZ Herald

Wildlife photography is an artform associated with images of majestic animals in breathtaking settings.

Drama, death, predator and prey: these photos normally evoke nature, red in tooth and claw. But this is 2020, and we could all do with a laugh.

So, here's a photo of a turtle, "flipping the bird".

Flipping the Bird. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Mark Fitzpatrick
Flipping the Bird. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Mark Fitzpatrick

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Award was established as an antidote to the normal nature photography narrative - the one where a beautiful, endangered animal is shown in its threatened habitat. Sad and stunning photos have an important role to play in raising awareness.

However, this competition was set up to show that comedy might be a better way of encouraging the message of conservation.

"We are trying to raise the issue of conservation through a humorous, upbeat and positive association with these animals," says Tom Sullam, one of the competitions' founders.

Sly smiles. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Asaf Sereth
Sly smiles. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Asaf Sereth

Tom and Paul Joynson-Hicks started the competition in 2015 in search of "great photography that has captured a wild animal doing something so funny that makes us snort into our cup of tea."

And they've found plenty of them. Past entries have included bear cubs doing the tango, shocked otters and one pissed-off squirrel who just wants everything to "stop!"

Winning Smile: A Parrot fish. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Arthur Telle
Winning Smile: A Parrot fish. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Arthur Telle
Whoa! 2018's top picture. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Competition, Mary McGowan
Whoa! 2018's top picture. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Competition, Mary McGowan

In the past six years the competition has focused increasingly on conservation.
Working with the Born Free Foundation, they hope that the competition can help spread conservation awareness and raise a bit of cash for the cause.

One a more selfish note, Paul and Tom have been given something to chuckle at through a pandemic lockdown. Tom says the Coronavirus has helped the entries, as photographers have "found the time to wrestle through years of images stuck on hard drives."

This year they have whittled down a record 7000 images to a short list of 44.

"The most ever, which is amazing!"

The competition has assembled a panel of judges from both photography and comedic backgrounds. The list includes BBC comedy panellist Hugh Dennis, TV presenter Kate Humble and wildlife activist Will Travers.

Biker gang. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Yevhen Samuchenko
Biker gang. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Yevhen Samuchenko

Though as you'd expect of this meme-worthy collection of photos – the internet plays a key role in selecting the top comedy snaps.

The People's Choice Award is open to public voting via their website.

Gossip. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Bernhard Esterer
Gossip. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Bernhard Esterer
Wait! Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Christina Holfelder
Wait! Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Christina Holfelder
Stuffed Raccoon. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Charlie Davidson
Stuffed Raccoon. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Charlie Davidson
Doggo. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Esa Ringbom
Doggo. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Esa Ringbom
Hi Y'all. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Eric Fisher
Hi Y'all. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Eric Fisher
What was I thinking? Royal Bengal Tiger. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Jagdep Rajput
What was I thinking? Royal Bengal Tiger. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Jagdep Rajput
O sole mio. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Kranitz Roland
O sole mio. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Kranitz Roland
Lolliphant. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Kunal Gupta
Lolliphant. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Kunal Gupta
Socially Uninhibited. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Martin Grace
Socially Uninhibited. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Martin Grace
Bants. Photo /The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Ayala Fishaimer
Bants. Photo /The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020, Ayala Fishaimer
Too hot. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, Wei Ping Peng.
Too hot. Photo / The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, Wei Ping Peng.

The full list of finalists can be seen: comedywildlifephoto.com

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