A heart-warming image depicting a unique moment between a pair of male lions is the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People’s Choice Award. 16,000 nature fans voted, and London-based photographer David Lloyd’s picture, Bond of Brothers, emerged as the favourite.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the Natural History Museum’s annual showcase of the world’s best nature photography and photojournalism. Seen by millions of people all over the world, the images celebrate the astonishing diversity of life on earth, whilst challenging us to address the big questions facing our planet.
The fifty-fifth competition is currently being judged by an esteemed panel of experts, and the winners will be revealed in October 2019.
David’s image was chosen from a shortlist of 25, selected by the Natural History Museum from over 45,000 photographs submitted for the 2018 competition. The picture will be showcased in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum until it closes on 30 June.
The two adult males, likely to be brothers, greeted and rubbed faces for around 30 seconds before settling down. It is unusual for lions to nuzzle for so long, and David was honoured to have experienced and captured such a moment.
David says, ‘I’m so pleased that this image did well because it illustrates the emotion and feeling of animals and emphasises that this is not limited to humans. It is something I think more people need to be aware of for the sake of all animals.’
Director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon, says, ‘Lions are individuals with complex social bonds, and David’s winning picture provides a glimpse into their inner world. A truly stunning photograph, this intimate portrait reminds us that humans aren’t the only sentient beings on this planet. I hope the empathy and wonder garnered by this image will inspire more people to become advocates for nature.’
Four ‘Highly Commended’ images won over the hearts of the public, making it into the top five. These include Matthew Maran’s timely shot of a fox walking towards graffiti art in London, and Justin Hofman’s heart-breaking image of a famished polar bear in the Canadian Arctic.
Hungarian photographer Bence Máté also features with a picture of three painted wolves playing with the leg of an impala, and Wim Van Den Heever with a sublime shot of three king penguins on a beach in the Falkland Islands.
What is the Natural History Museum?
The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet.
It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.