Traditionally, wildlife photographers try to capture the majesty of their feral subjects. But even the most dignified wild animals get caught doing something downright silly every now and again. Tanzania-based wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks felt that the goofier moments in wildlife photography weren't getting enough appreciation. So this year, he organised the first annual Comedy Wildlife Awards, a collaboration with Nomad Tanzania, Natural High Safaris, Nikon UK, Kenya Airways and One Vision Imaging. "I always loved my own funny wildlife images and other people did as well, so I thought, what a fun concept to get loads of them together," he told Gizmodo.
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The competition brief was simple: "Seeing the funny side of the majestic creatures we love to photograph and protect." With 1502 entries from 52 different countries, it was a smashing success.
"It was a pleasure to judge the inaugural Comedy Wildlife awards," said British comedian Hugh Dennis. "The finalists should be very proud of themselves, as should the animals they photographed, simply for looking so funny. Sadly there is no way of telling them."
Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2015 Comedy Wildlife Awards.
"Rush Hour" (Winner)
Copyright: Julian Rad / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
First prize went to Austrian photographer Julian Rad, for this absolutely heartbreaking shot of a chubby little hamster in a big hurry! In addition to his trophy, Rad has earned a one week trip to Tanzania. He and the first and second runners-up also received new Nikon cameras.
"You Haven't Seen Me..." (Silver Runner Up)
Copyright: William Richardson / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
William Richardson took second place for his photo of a very stealthy deer in London's Richmond Park. If you squint really hard, you might see him.
"Nearly got it" (Bronze Runner Up)
Copyright: Oliver Dreike / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Third prize went to Oliver Dreike for capturing this very candid moment in the life of a mountain gorilla and proving that one bad habit, at least, is shared among primates.
Other highly commended photos below....
"Dancing Sifaka." Copyright: Alison Buttigieg/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"Geronimo." Copyright: Charlie Davidson/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Copyright: Graham McGeorge/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"It's Not Funny! I've Got a Cramp in My Flipper!" Copyright: Julie Hunt/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"Help Mum!" Copyright: Marc Mol/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"Sorry, Am I in Your Way?!" Copyright: Megan Lorenz/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"The Last Tango." Copyright: Tony Dilger/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
"Did I Really Do That Last Night?" Copyright: Yuzuru Masuda/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Copyright: Julian Rad/Comedy Wildlife Photograhy Awards.
Copyright: Mohammed Alnaser/Comedy Wildlife Photograhy Awards.