It could be the focus of a caption competition, but this humorous photo of a marmot being ambushed by a Tibetan fox is actually the winner of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award 2019.

From the province of Qinghai in China, photographer Yongquing Bao claimed the title with his photo that he called The Moment. Frozen in a life-or-death situation, there's an intense humour and horror that won over this year's judges.

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"Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment. The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed," said judging panel chair Roz Kidman Cox. The fact that very few images come out of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau made the image all the more "extraordinary".

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The remote glacial region is barely habitable for most of the year and has earned it the nickname the "third pole."

The director of the British Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon praised Bao for capturing "nature's ultimate challenge – its battle for survival."

The intensity of the photo makes it the perfect image for the internet age.

Marmot photomashup: It was the perfect image for the internet age. Photo / r/photoshopbattles
Marmot photomashup: It was the perfect image for the internet age. Photo / r/photoshopbattles
Marmot meme: The intensity of the marmot picture helped find fans outside of the judging panel. Photo / r/photoshopbattles
Marmot meme: The intensity of the marmot picture helped find fans outside of the judging panel. Photo / r/photoshopbattles

Within hours memes appeared on social media and photoshopping forums.

The Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year was claimed by fourteen-year-old Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand whose picture of a luminous squid won glowing praise from judges.

Night Glow: Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 is Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand
Night Glow: Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 is Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand

Captured on a night dive in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, the big fin squid appears to glow against the dark water. Erdmann who is already a keen ocean diver gained his certification aged just 10. He rarely goes on a dive without his father's old underwater camera – the camera with which he shot the squid.

The difficult picture was only one of four frames he managed to capture of the mysterious creature before it darted off into the deep.

Judge Theo Bosboom praised the skill of the photography, particularly impressive given the photographer's young age. "To dive in the pitch dark, find this beautiful squid and to be able to photograph it so elegantly, to reveal its wonderful shapes and colours, takes so much skill," he said.

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In its fifty-fifth year the WPY competition received 48,000 images from over 100 countries.

The images were judged by 19 categories - including animal behaviour and underwater photography - and put before a panel of naturalists and professional photographers to judge.

Scroll down to see the shortlisted images:

Land of the Eagle: Audun Rikardsen, Norway
Land of the Eagle: Audun Rikardsen, Norway
Another Barred Migrant: jaguar projected onto the US-Mexico border by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico
Another Barred Migrant: jaguar projected onto the US-Mexico border by Alejandro Prieto, Mexico
Snow Exposure: An American bison endures a thick snowfall in Yellowstone National Park by Max Waugh, USA
Snow Exposure: An American bison endures a thick snowfall in Yellowstone National Park by Max Waugh, USA
The Rat Pack: Resident rodents in Pearl St, New York, by Charlie Hamilton James, UK
The Rat Pack: Resident rodents in Pearl St, New York, by Charlie Hamilton James, UK
The Garden of Eels: A wrasse and coronet fish glide through a vast colony of garden eels in the Philippines. David Doubilet, USA
The Garden of Eels: A wrasse and coronet fish glide through a vast colony of garden eels in the Philippines. David Doubilet, USA
The Equal Match: A puma hunting huge adult male guanaco, in Torres del Paine area, Chile by Ingo Arndt, Germany
The Equal Match: A puma hunting huge adult male guanaco, in Torres del Paine area, Chile by Ingo Arndt, Germany
Frozen Moment: Dall sheep lock horns Jérémie Villet, France
Frozen Moment: Dall sheep lock horns Jérémie Villet, France
Sacred No More: A Japanese macaque in a theatre show by Jasper Doest, The Netherlands
Sacred No More: A Japanese macaque in a theatre show by Jasper Doest, The Netherlands
Pondworld: Spawning common frogs by Manuel Plaickner, Italy
Pondworld: Spawning common frogs by Manuel Plaickner, Italy
The Huddle: 5,000 male emperor penguins huddle on an ice sea by Stefan Christmann, Germany
The Huddle: 5,000 male emperor penguins huddle on an ice sea by Stefan Christmann, Germany
Tapestry of Life: A forest covered in bulging orange velvet fungus by Zorica Kovacevic, Serbia
Tapestry of Life: A forest covered in bulging orange velvet fungus by Zorica Kovacevic, Serbia
Last Gasp: A young hippo is dispatched by an agressive bull, by Adrian Hirschi, Switzerland.
Last Gasp: A young hippo is dispatched by an agressive bull, by Adrian Hirschi, Switzerland.
The Architectural Army: Army ants by Daniel Kronauer, Germany
The Architectural Army: Army ants by Daniel Kronauer, Germany
Creation: The Kīlauea volcano eruption by Luis Vilariño, Spain
Creation: The Kīlauea volcano eruption by Luis Vilariño, Spain

The top hundred photos, including those of Erdmann and Bao will form part of a travelling exhibition. Opening in the Natural History Museum in London tomorrow, the images will go on to travel the world.

Got a nature snap that could compete with these slices of still life?

The next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is open for entries on Monday 21 October 2019. Find out more at nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/competition

'nature's ultimate challenge -its battle for survival.' Photo / r/photoshopbattles
'nature's ultimate challenge -its battle for survival.' Photo / r/photoshopbattles
The marmot photo was reincarnated in many memes. Photo / r/photoshopbattles
The marmot photo was reincarnated in many memes. Photo / r/photoshopbattles