A chance photo of rare Siberian tiger has been selected from 49000 entries to as the winning picture of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Revealed on Tuesday at an online ceremony held by the London Natural History Museum, awards were given for competitions in 'animal portraiture,' landscape and marine photography.
However it was Sergey Gorshok's photo of the female tiger rubbing against the bark of a Siberian tree that wowed the judges. There are few photos of these rare big cats. More novel still is how it was captured: this was the first grand prize to be captured remotely but a 'camera trap'.
The rich textures of the striped big cat in the dappled forest lighting were described by judging panel chair Roz Kidman Cox as "like an oil painting".
"It's a scene like no other. A unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest," Roz Kidman Cox judging pane chair.
Not bad for a photo captured by a camera left for 10 months in the Siberian woods.
Activated by motion, the photo was taken by one of a series of 'camera traps' while Sergey was many kilometres away. However there was no controversy.
Patience is rewarded above all other virtues in Wildlife photography.
However this image also captured a message of conservation, which judges felt should be rewarded. There are now thought to be only 550 of these Russian tigers left in the wild.
"It's also a story told in glorious colour and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness," said Dr Tim Littlewood director of science for the museum and judge.
"Hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century, the Amur tiger population is still threatened by poaching and logging today."
The Sergey Gorshok's win was announced by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge: "Many congratulations to you Sergey and thank you to all of these who entered for sharing with us the magic of the natural world."
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year was also awarded to Liina Heikkinen of Finland who caught a dramatic moment in her photo called "The fox that got the goose."
Shekar Dattatri commended the photo's "sense of furtive drama and frantic urgency."
In its 56th year, next year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entry from next week.
See more shortlisted photos at www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy