The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been unearthing hilarious and heartwarming photos of creatures basically being their best selves since 2015.
And this year is no exception. The recently announced winners and finalists of the 2021 competition include a visibly uncomfortable monkey, a trio of gossipy raccoons, a joyful bird reunion, gravity-defying fish and an all-powerful prairie dog.
A panel of judges sorts through thousands of submissions from expert and novice photographers alike, and determines one winner for each of the several categories — except for the peoples’ choice award, which is left up to members of the public. The overall winner gets a handmade trophy from a workshop in Tanzania and a weeklong Kenyan safari.
This year’s top prize goes to Ken Jensen. His photo, taken in Yunnan, China, shows a golden silk monkey in a rather uncomfortable position with an appropriately startled look on its face.
The caption reads: “This is actually a show of aggression however in the position that the monkey is in it looks quite painful!”
Another crowd favorite shows a pigeon with a flyaway leaf covering its entire face, captioned “I guess summer’s over.” The shot, by John Speirs, took home the people’s choice award.
Rahul Lakhmani won the sole video category with a video entitled “Hugging Best Friend After Lockdown.” In it, one bird perches expectantly on a branch as another dives towards it, knocking them both out of the frame. It’s surely a relatable moment for many humans this year too.
The contest is more than just a delight to behold. It also aims to raise awareness about the importance of conservation.
“The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was born from the need for a wildlife photography competition that was light-hearted, unpretentious and importantly, could make a difference to animals and our natural world,” reads its website. “Its founders realised that laughter was a uniquely effective tool to engage audiences of all ages and cultures with images of creatures they may never be able to see for themselves – and that the world could lose forever.”
Organizers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE, Tom Sullam and Michelle Wood say they also donate 10% of their total net revenue to conservation organizations that protect endangered wildlife. This year, proceeds are going to the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program in Borneo.
Nature is healing, as they say. But it still has a long way to go.