Since the competition began in 2015, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have captured some of the funniest moments in the animal kingdom. This year’s winners and finalists include a clumsy elephant mud bath, a gossiping gaggle of raccoons, and a young otter’s swimming lesson.
A panel of judges reviewed thousands of submissions from photographers around the world before selecting the winners for each of the categories, including air, sea, and land animals. The winning image for the people’s choice award category is left up to members of the public. The overall winner gets a handmade trophy from Tanzania and a weeklong safari in Kenya, per Rachel Treisman for NPR.
This year’s grand prize winner was Ken Jensen, who claimed the top spot for his image titled “Ouch!” of a male golden silk monkey in China. John Speirs won the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award for his image of a pigeon being smacked on the face with a leaf, and Arthur Trevino won the Animals of the Land category with a dramatic shot of a faceoff between a prairie dog and a bald eagle, reports Popular Photography‘s Harry Guinness.
The contest is more than a lighthearted celebration of the natural world—it aims to be a tool for species conservation. Organizers donate a portion of their contest revenue to conservation projects and this year, proceeds are going to the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program in Borneo.
“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,” according to the contest organizers. The awards “use humor as a tool to bring audiences in on the wider story about conservation.”
Next year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards will open for entrants in spring 2022. The full list of winners and finalists is available on the competition website.
Here is a selection of the winning images:
Overall Winner: Ken Jensen, “Ouch!”
Creatures Under the Sea Award: Chee Kee Teo, “Time for school”
Highly Commended Winner: Jakub Hodan, “Treehugger”
Creatures on the Land Award: Arthur Trevino, “Ninja Prairie Dog!”
Amazing Internet Portfolio Award: Vicki Jauron, “The Joy of a Mud Bath”
Highly Commended Winner: Chu han lin, “See who jumps high”
Highly Commended Winner: Pal Marchhart, “Peekaboo”
Highly Commended Winner: Lea Scaddan, “Missed”
Creatures in the Air Award and Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award: John Speirs, “I guess summer’s over”
Highly Commended Winner: Andy Parkinson, “Let’s dance”