Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022: the winning images

The winning shots capture nature at its best and serve as a reminder of the urgent need to conserve it.

Karine Aigner, a US-based photographer, has been officially declared Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 for her remarkable Shot of A buzzing ball of cactus honey bees spinning over Texas’s hot sand.

The beautiful close-up (main picture) captures the moment when a group bees compete to mate with a single lady. After a few minutes, they flew off together.

The Natural History Museum in London runs the annual Wildlife Photographer of the year competition. An exhibition was opened to accompany the award at the weekend. Aigner is only the fifth woman in the competition’s 58-year history to receive the top prize.

Of the winning image, chair of the jury, the writer and editor Rosamund Kidman Cox OBE, said: “The Sensibility of Bewegung And At bee-level magnification, intensity is visible and transforms small cactus bees in to big competitors for a single female.”

Sixteen-year-old Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn is from Thailand was crowned Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 for his image, dubbed ‘the beauty of baleen’. 

The shot (below) was taken when a Bryde’s whale surfaced close to the boat Katanyou was sailing on. The contrast colours and textures of the Bryde’s whale’s dark skin, pink gum, and the mass of baleen hanging from its top jaw intrigued the young photographer.

A close-up of a Bryde’s whale’s mouth. Image: Katanyou Wuttichaitanakor/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Like other baleen whales, Bryde’s use a technique known as lunge-feeding to capture large numbers of small schooling fish and use the plates of baleen to filter the small prey from the ocean. 

Dr Doug Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, said: “Wildlife photographers offer us unforgettable glimpses into the lives of wild species, sharing unseen details, fascinating behaviours and front-line reporting on the climate and biodiversity crises. These images demonstrate their awe of and appreciation for the natural world and the urgent need to take action to protect it.”

Click on the images to see the other category winners. 


Winning shots: Wildlife photographer of the year 2022

Main image: Karine Aigner/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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