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A pelican losing its lunch and an elephant falling on its face, both relatable behaviors made much more humorous by a well-timed camera click.
Judges honored photos of these incidents and nearly 40 others as finalists in this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
As its name suggests, the international competition highlights the humor captured in animal photography. British, Tanzania-based photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam created the contest in 2015 in hopes of boosting wildlife conservation efforts.
“The contest celebrates great photography of wildlife, but with the humorous element thrown in,” said Sullam. “We wanted to have a photo competition that was positive and upbeat but with a serious message about wildlife conservation attached to it.”
This year, photographers submitted more than 2,000 unexpectedly funny animal images from 75 different countries. A panel of photography experts and famed comedians chose the winners unveiled in Britain on Wednesday.
Finalist and winning photos alike are already garnering licensing requests for books and calendars, and Joynson-Hicks and Sullam hope the competition’s popularity will help boost support of contest partner the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity.
“Photography can always capture a moment, sometimes unfairly, that portrays the animals exhibiting funny behavior,” said Sullam. “Hopefully, this behavior and humor can be used to create a sense of conservation in all our viewers and entrants, [and provide] an escape from some of the less pleasant images and news that we are bombarded with every day.”
View a selection of the finalists and winners of the 2016 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards below.
A fox dives into the snow in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Angela Bohlke /The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A grizzly bear does a bad job of catching a salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska. Photo by Rob Kroenert /The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Winner in the Air category: A pelican loses its fish near Kerkini Lake, Greece. Photo by Nicolas de Vaulx/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A male fan-throated lizard stands at the ready. Photo by Anup Deodhar/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
(Left) A male zebra shows his teeth in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Photo by Alison Mees/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. (Right) A pair of King penguins in south Georgia were captured preening themselves simultaneously. Photo by Charles Kinsey/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A bear poses in the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada. Photo by Adam Parsons/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A burrowing owlet readies for a selfie in Cape Coral, Florida. Photo by Megan Lorenz/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
An unfortunate portrait of a cape buffalo and cattle egret in Meru National Park, Kenya. Photo by Tom Stables/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A baby elephant falls in the sand inside Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Photo by Markus Pavlowskys/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Burrowing owls near their cave in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina. Photo by Mario Gustavo Fiorucci/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Winner in the Sea category: Two painted frogfish in Taiwan. Photo by Jim Chen/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Two white rhinos organised back-to-back in defense formation in Laikipia, Kenya. Photo by George Dian Balan/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A meerkat, having a rough day in Little Karoo, South Africa. Photo by Brigitta Moser/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A very happy snowy owl in Ontario, Canada. Photo by Edward Kopeschny/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
An eastern chipmunk in Ontario, Canada stuffing its cheeks with corn. Photo by Barb d’Arpino/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A harvest mouse waves at the camera in Cheshire, England. Photo by Michael Erwin/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
A young white snow monkey in Japan appears to make a snowball.Photo by Nicolas de Vaulx/The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Julia Griffin is senior coordinator of digital video at PBS NewsHour where she oversees the daily production of video content for the organization’s website and social media platforms.
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