Breathtaking, Richmond Park, London, UK (Gheorghe Dragomir)
List 31 January 2019

The finalists: 10 intriguing images of wildlife from this year's Photo of the Year finalists

The Wanderlust Photo of the Year 2018 results will be revealed tomorrow! Have a look at the final 10 photos from this year's wildlife category to get an idea of how steep the competition is this year...

Cheetah family, Ndutu, Tanzania (Annie Nash)

Cheetah family, Ndutu, Tanzania (Annie Nash)

Across five days, I was lucky enough to observe a family of five cheetahs playing, sleeping and walking distances. I even got to see the mum complete a successful hunt, as well as the antelope that they quickly devoured. Fat tummies once again. This image was taken the last time we saw them. It felt like a goodbye line-up, just before they disappeared.

 

 

 

Winter dance, Enisala, Romania (Diana Buzoianu)

Winter dance, Enisala, Romania (Diana Buzoianu)

I took this photo during a very cold snap last year. All the birds were returning for spring but, due to changing weather, they were welcomed by a blizzard. In those conditions, survival is tough, hence they had to share any resources that they could find with other birds. It is, unfortunately, a struggle that they may have to face from now on.
Sometimes it’s possible to glimpse orangutans emerging from the jungle close to the trails. It’s necessary to be careful, though, because they can be aggressive, especially when you’re entering their territory. They’re naturally curious, but it’s safer to stay with a local guide. But when you watch them for long enough, you can almost glimpse our ancestors!

 

 

 

 

Eyes, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia, (Giovanni Frescura)

Eyes, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia, (Giovanni Frescura)

Surrounded, Etosha National Park, Namibia (Pao Ning Yu)

Surrounded, Etosha National Park, Namibia (Pao Ning Yu)

This was taken as the sun was setting on one of the watering holes of Etosha. Four female lions had killed a kudu and were taking their time devouring their kill. Unfortunately, 16 hyenas got wind of the scent. What ensued was a fight for survival as the hyenas tried to wrestle the kudu from the lions. They did finally convince the lionesses to leave, but not before a fierce fight in which both sides sustained bloody wounds.

 

 

 

Scissors, paper, stone… Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana (Paul Wynn)

Scissors, paper, stone… Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana (Paul Wynn)

I was on an early-morning river safari when the peace and quiet was disturbed by a noisy troop of baboons. After a while I noticed a couple of baboons who seemed to be engrossed in their own game. The rising sun was low in the sky and behind the subject, but by underexposing the shot, I was able to eliminate shadow detail and create the golden outline of the animals.
This image of three gentoo penguins was taken in Rongé Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. It was early in the season, and at that time of the year the penguins return to land for nesting in their thousands. I focussed on three of them and followed their synchronised walk.

 

 

Synchronised dance, Rongé Island, Antarctic Peninsula (Renato Granieri)

Synchronised dance, Rongé Island, Antarctic Peninsula (Renato Granieri)

Learning, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya (Andy Howe)

Learning, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya (Andy Howe)

I’ve been lucky enough to photograph all three of this female leopard’s litters over a period spanning about four years. I had found this cub under an acacia tree earlier in the day and returned hoping to see mother and cub together. They were soon reunited, but then the leopardess spotted movement in the bushes, sprinted about 30 metres and caught a hare. This is possibly the first time that the cub had been given a whole prey to deal with.

 

 

 

Golden monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda (Kellie Netherwood)

Golden monkey, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda (Kellie Netherwood)

Endangered and practically endemic to the Virunga volcanoes, the golden monkey shares its habitat with mountain gorillas. But, despite being less famous than its larger neighbour, the opportunity to trek among the Rwandan landscape and its playful troops of distinctive primates is an unforgettable experience.
As snow sweeps across Kussharo Lake, whooper swans seek warmth in the small section left unfrozen by the flow of hot spring water. This was taken in Hokkaido, Japan, at a time of year that has freezing temperatures and falling snow, creating hostile but magical conditions.

 

 

Swan Lake, Hokkaido, Japan (Kellie Netherwood)

Swan Lake, Hokkaido, Japan (Kellie Netherwood)

Breathtaking, Richmond Park, London, UK (Gheorghe Dragomir)

Breathtaking, Richmond Park, London, UK (Gheorghe Dragomir)

With 2,500 acres to roam during rutting season, you can hear the mating call of the red stag throughout London’s Richmond Park. I find it amazing these beautiful wild animals live so close to humans. I was very fortunate to capture this photo of one stag exhaling, a crow perched on his back, during a beautiful golden sunrise.