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Line-up of owls is among the frames in the running for Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize

A line-up of photogenic burrowing owls, friendly civets, a hare turned into a sphere, two sleeping squirrels, a weird looking Japanese warbonnet and playful Iberian lynx.

These are only some of the subjects that feature in the list for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s ‘people’s choice’ category, a competition held by the Natural History Museum and the winner will be revealed on 9 February 2021.

The list also includes some heart-breaking images such as a carer’s final goodbye to the last male northern white rhino and the moment three brown bears are chained to the wall in order to rehearse their daily act for the circus. 

Family portrait  by Andrew Lee: A stunning family picture of nine burrowing owls, all looking straight into the camera. After waiting for days the photographer didn’t miss the opportunity to capture the mother and her eight chicks at Ontario, California

Drey dreaming by Neil Anderson: Two Eurasian red squirrels found the perfect place to warm up, in a nest the photographer had put up in a pine trees near his home in the Scottish Highlands. As the weather gets colder, it's common for squirrels to share dreys to keep warm

Drey dreaming by Neil Anderson: Two Eurasian red squirrels found the perfect place to warm up, in a nest the photographer had put up in a pine trees near his home in the Scottish Highlands. As the weather gets colder, it’s common for squirrels to share dreys to keep warm

Hare ball  by Andy Parkinson: A female hare becomes a perfect sphere protecting itself from the cold. The photographer  spent five weeks near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands, waiting patiently in freezing temperatures for the perfect shot

Hare ball  by Andy Parkinson: A female hare becomes a perfect sphere protecting itself from the cold. The photographer  spent five weeks near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands, waiting patiently in freezing temperatures for the perfect shot 

Eye to eye by Andrey Shpatak: The strange looking fish is a Japanese warbonnet captured in the north of the Gulf of Oprichnik in the Sea of Japan. Although they were once considered shy and difficult to observe, they now enjoy swimming close to divers

Eye to eye by Andrey Shpatak: The strange looking fish is a Japanese warbonnet captured in the north of the Gulf of Oprichnik in the Sea of Japan. Although they were once considered shy and difficult to observe, they now enjoy swimming close to divers 

The last goodbye by Ami Vitale: The heart-breaking moment Joseph Wachira is next to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, during his last moments at Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. Sudan died moments later but was surrounded by his carers

The last goodbye by Ami Vitale: The heart-breaking moment Joseph Wachira is next to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, during his last moments at Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. Sudan died moments later but was surrounded by his carers

Shut the front door by Sam Sloss: A coconut octopus carrying around its house made of shells taken in Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi. The resourceful creatures are known to make their own protective shells using shells, cocunuts or even glass

Shut the front door by Sam Sloss: A coconut octopus carrying around its house made of shells taken in Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi. The resourceful creatures are known to make their own protective shells using shells, cocunuts or even glass

White danger by  Petri Pietiläinen: A polar bear  on a cliff ready to attack the birds that were nesting there- exactly at the moment one of the birds jumps off the cliff. The photo was taken during a trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard

White danger by  Petri Pietiläinen: A polar bear  on a cliff ready to attack the birds that were nesting there- exactly at the moment one of the birds jumps off the cliff. The photo was taken during a trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard

Coexistence by Pallavi Prasad Laveti: An adorable  Asian palm civet smiles to the camera from inside a bag as it's perfectly comfortable among locals at remote village in India. The photographer believes the image symbolises hope as in many parts of the world civets are trapped in cages and used for Kopi Luwak coffee production

Coexistence by Pallavi Prasad Laveti: An adorable  Asian palm civet smiles to the camera from inside a bag as it’s perfectly comfortable among locals at remote village in India. The photographer believes the image symbolises hope as in many parts of the world civets are trapped in cages and used for Kopi Luwak coffee production

A special moment  by Oliver Richter : The photographer was lucky enough to capture the beautiful image of a family of beavers near his home in Grimma, Saxony, Germany. Oliver believes the photograph reflects the care the  beavers show towards their young

A special moment  by Oliver Richter : The photographer was lucky enough to capture the beautiful image of a family of beavers near his home in Grimma, Saxony, Germany. Oliver believes the photograph reflects the care the  beavers show towards their young

The alpha by Mogens Trolle : A mandrill's perfect profile, showing its bright snout. Mogens thinks the alpha has been one of the most difficult species to photograph as it prefers to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa

The alpha by Mogens Trolle : A mandrill’s perfect profile, showing its bright snout. Mogens thinks the alpha has been one of the most difficult species to photograph as it prefers to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa

Backstage at the circus by Kirsten Luce: Bear trainer Grant Ibragimov rehearses his daily act with three Siberian brown bears at Saint Petersburg State Circus. In order to strengthen their leg muscles, the bears are chained by the neck to the wall

Backstage at the circus by Kirsten Luce: Bear trainer Grant Ibragimov rehearses his daily act with three Siberian brown bears at Saint Petersburg State Circus. In order to strengthen their leg muscles, the bears are chained by the neck to the wall 

Spirit of Bhutan by  Emmanuel Rondeau: A takin posing for a photo with a beautiful natural background. Emmanuel was on a mission to capture the  wildlife of the Bhutanese mountains, as an assignment for WWF UK- and he did so at an altitude of 11,500 feet

Spirit of Bhutan by  Emmanuel Rondeau: A takin posing for a photo with a beautiful natural background. Emmanuel was on a mission to capture the  wildlife of the Bhutanese mountains, as an assignment for WWF UK- and he did so at an altitude of 11,500 feet

Licence to kill by Britta Jaschinski: A zebra's head placed inside a a shopping trolley. Britta photographs items confiscated at airports and borders in a bid to understand why there is still demand for wildlife products, even if it causes suffering to the animal. This was seized at a border point in the USA

Licence to kill by Britta Jaschinski: A zebra’s head placed inside a a shopping trolley. Britta photographs items confiscated at airports and borders in a bid to understand why there is still demand for wildlife products, even if it causes suffering to the animal. This was seized at a border point in the USA

The real garden gnomes by Karine Aigner: Four burrowing owls are posing as nature's garden gnomes. The photo was taken at Marco Island near the Gulf Coast where there is a big community of burrowing owls

The real garden gnomes by Karine Aigner: Four burrowing owls are posing as nature’s garden gnomes. The photo was taken at Marco Island near the Gulf Coast where there is a big community of burrowing owls

Border refuge by Joseph Dominic Anthony: A stunning image of birds  at Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong. The photograph was taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border and took a lot of preparation as the photographer's goal was to capture the mood of Mai Po in a single image

Border refuge by Joseph Dominic Anthony: A stunning image of birds  at Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong. The photograph was taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border and took a lot of preparation as the photographer’s goal was to capture the mood of Mai Po in a single image

Resting dragon by Gary Meredith: A lizard captured resting on a wire mesh waiting for the sun. The lizards of  The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia,  need to adapt to different living conditions and often use man-made structures

Resting dragon by Gary Meredith: A lizard captured resting on a wire mesh waiting for the sun. The lizards of  The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia,  need to adapt to different living conditions and often use man-made structures 

Bat woman by Douglas Gimesy: Wildlife rescuer Julie Malherbeshows amazing multitasking skills as she is on the phone  helping in the next animal rescue while taking care of three orphaned megabats. Two of the flying-foxes are hanging from a dryer, next to toys while the third one is playfully hanging from the woman's shirt

Bat woman by Douglas Gimesy: Wildlife rescuer Julie Malherbeshows amazing multitasking skills as she is on the phone  helping in the next animal rescue while taking care of three orphaned megabats. Two of the flying-foxes are hanging from a dryer, next to toys while the third one is playfully hanging from the woman’s shirt

Close encounter  by Guillermo Esteves:  A curious moose  is checking out a visitor on the passenger seat. The moose that was captured  at the Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, USA approached the car to take a closer look at the dog, that looks worried seeing the massive wild animal so close

Close encounter  by Guillermo Esteves:  A curious moose  is checking out a visitor on the passenger seat. The moose that was captured  at the Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, USA approached the car to take a closer look at the dog, that looks worried seeing the massive wild animal so close

Drawn and quartered  by Laurent Ballesta: The incredible moment  pieces of a fish are falling as two grey reef sharks share a meal  was caught on camera at Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia. Some of the rest of the sharks in the underwater photo try to grab some of the falling pieces of the grouper

Drawn and quartered  by Laurent Ballesta: The incredible moment  pieces of a fish are falling as two grey reef sharks share a meal  was caught on camera at Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia. Some of the rest of the sharks in the underwater photo try to grab some of the falling pieces of the grouper

Baby on the rocks by Frédéric Larrey: A cheeky snow leopard cub  got away from its mother and is playing hidden in the rocks. The photographer snapped the image of the six-month-old on the Tibetan plateau where there is a healthy leopard population

Baby on the rocks by Frédéric Larrey: A cheeky snow leopard cub  got away from its mother and is playing hidden in the rocks. The photographer snapped the image of the six-month-old on the Tibetan plateau where there is a healthy leopard population

Turtle time machine by Thomas Peschak:  A group of green turtles enjoying their time in the water at Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas. Fishermen of the area use shellfish scraps to attract them to the dock. Sadly today they are classed as endangered species

Turtle time machine by Thomas Peschak:  A group of green turtles enjoying their time in the water at Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas. Fishermen of the area use shellfish scraps to attract them to the dock. Sadly today they are classed as endangered species

Life saver by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano:  A beautiful Iberian lynx coming out of an under-road tunnel in Jaen, Spain. explo Sadly many have been casualties of traffic accidents but these tunnels have been proven life-saving.

Life saver by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano:  A beautiful Iberian lynx coming out of an under-road tunnel in Jaen, Spain. explo Sadly many have been casualties of traffic accidents but these tunnels have been proven life-saving.

A window to life  by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano: Two adorable Iberian lynx kittens play in the hayloft at eastern Sierra Morena, Spain. Quijote and Queen were born there and they have gradually started exploring the outside world.

A window to life  by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano: Two adorable Iberian lynx kittens play in the hayloft at eastern Sierra Morena, Spain. Quijote and Queen were born there and they have gradually started exploring the outside world.

Bushfire by Robert Irwin: A fire line destroying everything in its path in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. Sadly the area has over 30 different ecosystems  and is home to many endangered species.

Bushfire by Robert Irwin: A fire line destroying everything in its path in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. Sadly the area has over 30 different ecosystems  and is home to many endangered species.

Lion king  by Wim van den Heever: A male lion lying on a large rock in Serengeti, Tanzania looks straight into the camera, giving the photographer the opportunity to capture the perfect shot- The lion King moments before the storm

Lion king  by Wim van den Heever: A male lion lying on a large rock in Serengeti, Tanzania looks straight into the camera, giving the photographer the opportunity to capture the perfect shot- The lion King moments before the storm


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