Every year, wildlife photographers from around the world send in their submissions to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. This annual competition is open to everyone and put on by the Natural History Museum in London, England.

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New for #WPY55: A gentoo penguin – the fastest underwater swimmer of all penguins – flees for its life as a leopard seal bursts out of the water. Spanish photographer @eduardo_del_alamo was expecting it. He had spotted the penguin, resting on a fragment of broken ice. But he had also seen the leopard seal patrolling off the Antarctic Peninsula coast, close to the gentoo’s colony on Cuverville Island. As Eduardo’s inflatable headed towards the penguin, the seal passed directly beneath the boat. Moments later, it surged out of the water, mouth open. The penguin made it off the ice, but the seal now seemed to turn the hunt into a game. Leopard seals are formidable predators. Females can be 3.5 metres (11½ feet) long and weigh more than 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), males slightly less. Their slender bodies are built for speed, with wide jaws bearing long canines and sharply pointed molars. They hunt almost anything, from fish to the pups of other seal species. And they also play with their prey, as in this instance, with the leopard seal pursuing the penguin for more than 15 minutes before finally catching and eating it. Image: If penguins could fly by @eduardo_del_alamo, Spain. Highly Commended 2019, Behaviour: Mammals. See more of nature's extraordinary sights in our upcoming exhibition at the @natural_history_museum, opening on Friday 18 October. Visit the link in our bio for tickets and more info. #WPY #WPY55 #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #PhotographyCompetition #PhotoOfTheDay #PhotographyContest #Photography #Mammals #Seal #Penguin #Environment #Penguins #Antarctic #NaturePhotos #Instanature #WildlifePhotography #Competition #NaturePhotography #AnimalBehaviour #NaturalHistory #WildlifePhotographer #Exhibition #NaturalHistoryMuseum #London

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The 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This year, the entries have been nothing short of amazing. One thing we love about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is how it shows, in raw form, the beauty AND cruelty of the animal kingdom. Sadly, it also shows the kind of impact we, as humans, have had on the natural world.

This year marks the 55th year of the competition. Since the beginning, the competition has delivered to the public thousands of incredible images that can be both enlightening and heartbreaking. We really are having an impact on the world around us, and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is quick to show us that through the images from photographers around the world.

Dr. Tim Littlewood, Director of Science at the Natural History Museum and a member of the judging panel, is vocal about our role in the future of our planet. What does he have to say?

“For more than fifty years this competition has attracted the world’s very best photographers, naturalists and young photographers, but there has never been a more important time for audiences all over the world to experience their work in our inspiring and impactful exhibition. Photography has a unique ability to spark conversation, debate and even action. We hope this year’s exhibition will empower people to think differently about our planet and our critical role in its future.”

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New for #WPY55: An ever-adaptable raccoon pokes her bandit-masked face out of a 1970s Ford Pinto on a deserted farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. In the back seat, her five playful kits trill with excitement. It was a sentiment shared by Canadian photographer @JasonLeoBantle, waiting silently in a nearby hide, who had been hoping for this chance every summer for several years. The only access into the car was through the small hole in the cracked safety glass of the windscreen. The gap was blunt‑edged but too narrow a fit for a coyote (the primary predator of raccoons in the area), making this an ideal place for a mother raccoon to raise a family. On this evening, she paused at the exit to check the surroundings just long enough for Jason to make his long twilight exposure. She then squeezed out to spend the night looking for food – anything from fruit, nuts and eggs to invertebrates and small vertebrates. Image: Lucky break by @JasonLeoBantle, Canada. Highly commended 2019, Urban Wildlife. Look out for more content on this story coming soon. Our new exhibition at the @natural_history_museum opens on Friday 18 October. Book in advance via the link in our bio to guarantee entry. #WPY #WPY55 #WildlifePhotographerOfTheYear #PhotographyCompetition #PhotoOfTheDay #PhotographyContest #Photography #Mammals #Raccoon #Car #Ford #Urban #Environment #Canada #WildlifePhotography #Competition #Photography #Exhibition #NaturalHistoryMusuem #Saskatchewan #NaturePhotography #Instanature #Instagood #NaturalHistory

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[Related Reading: Presenting the Finalists of the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards!]

Throughout the past 50+ years of the competition, many groundbreaking wildlife photojournalists have been featured. So far this year, there have been over 48,000 entries from wildlife photographers from around the world. The winners will be announced on October 15th, and displayed on exhibition the following Friday, the 18th. So while we anxiously await the announcement of the winners, you can take a look at 10 of the most highly commended photos from the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition HERE!  And be sure to follow them on Instagram so you don’t miss the winning announcement!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!