A chubby-cheeked squirrel chomping on corn, a frog floating in a pond, a fox who dove headfirst into the snow and is now parked with its legs sticking out, a monkey making a snowball, an owl with a GoPro camera, a Komodo dragon walking out of a washroom, a melancholic meerkat, and a look of utter dismay on its face, lions who look like they are laughing uncontrollably – these are just some of the finalists in the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Humans are capable of a range of emotions, but when those expressions are caught on the faces of animals, they result in some hilarious shots. Founded by two wildlife photographers, Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tim Sullam, Comedy Wildlife Photography works closely with the Born Free Foundation – a charity dedicated to animal conservation and protection that was founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, the stars of the classic film Born Free, and their eldest son, Will.
The competition which has been split into six categories, including a category for Video Clips, features well-timed scenes from the wild, from underwater shots of marine mammals, amphibians and reptiles, to birds, bats and every other kind of winged creature.
The Wildlife Comedy Awards are in their second year, and are already being hailed as the antithesis of traditional wildlife photography contests – the photography award that makes you laugh, and promotes animal conservation at the same time.
The panel of judges for the competition, includes Joynson-Hicks, wildlife photographers Will Burrard-Lucas, and Adam Scorey, wildlife TV presenter Kate Humble, actor and comedian Hugh Dennis, wildlife expert Will Travers, and The Telegraph’s online travel editor Oliver Smith. Fuji Photographer of the Year awardee Tom Sillam served as chairman of the judges and competition director.
The competition, which closed on October 1, received 2,200 entries from all around the world – of which only 40 photographs were chosen to contend in the competition.
Winners for each category will receive a special trophy made by men and women with disabilities at the WonderWorkshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The photographer with the winning shot will also take away a safari for two and a Nikon camera.
In 2015, the winning photograph featured a hamster running straight towards Austrian photographer Julian Rad's camera.