Unique macaque-deer moment among Highly Commended photos of


The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is about a month away from announcing its 2023 winners. But before that big moment, we get to see some Highly Commended photos of the fifty-ninth edition of the contest. Like every year, you’ll see some stunning, gorgeous, and heartbreaking images. And this unique “forest rodeo” was one of my favorites.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. This year’s competition attracted a whopping 49,957 entries! they came from photographers of all ages and experience levels, from 95 countries around the globe. During an intense week at the Museum, an international jury panel judged the images anonymously. They took into account their creativity, originality, and technical excellence.

“What most impressed the jury was the range of subjects, from absolute beauty, rarely seen behaviors and species to images that are stark reminders of what we are doing to the natural world,” said Chair of the judging panel, Kathy Moran. “We felt a powerful tension between wonder and woe that we believe came together to create a thought-provoking collection of photographs.”

As I mentioned, one of my personal favorites was this strange encounter between a macaque and a deer. Thanks to a prompt reaction from photographer Atsuyuki Ohshima, this moment got frozen in time, in a fantastic wildlife image.

© Atsuyuki Ohshima/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The photographer explains that this kind of “rodeo-riding” is rare, but not unheard of in Japan’s Yakushima Island. “Young male macaques have been seen clinging to female deer and trying to mate with them. In this case, however, the macaque was a young female, appearing just to be enjoying a free ride.”

Dr. Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum, commented:

“We are facing urgent biodiversity and climate crises, and photography is a powerful catalyst for change. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition reveals some of nature’s most wondrous sights whilst offering hope and achievable actions visitors can take to help protect the natural world.”

The winners of each category, and the Grand Title and Young Grand Title Awards, will be announced on October 10, 2023 at an awards ceremony. The Natural History Museum will also unveil the latest Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It will showcase 100 extraordinary photos taken all over the world, starting on October 13, 2023, in London.

After launching the flagship exhibition at the Natural History Museum, it will embark on a UK and international tour, connecting millions of people with the world’s best wildlife photography and the call to act for the planet. In the meantime, enjoy the selection of Highly Commended images below, and visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year website for more information.

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