The annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year received 43,000 entries, from amateurs and professionals alike, from 96 different countries. This year, South African photographers won the lion's share of the awards in the various categories.
Greg Du Toit won the overall prize with his photograph titled 'Essence of Elephants' which featured in 'Animal Portraits'. Isak Pretorius was the winner of the 'Behaviour: Birds' category with 'Sticky Situation' and Brent Stirton won the highly acclaimed 'Wildlife Photojournalist Award'.
The photographs were selected through a rigorous selection process, adjudicated by a panel of international specialists in the field, finally narrowing it down to the best entries based on creativity, artistry and technical complexity. "These talented photographers have made capturing wildlife on camera a true art form," says Jim Brandenburg, chair of the panel.Exhibition in Pretoria
The exhibition, now in its 49th year, will launch on 2 April and run until 30 June 2014 at the Ditsong Museum of Natural History in Pretoria. An internationally recognised exhibition, sponsored by National Geographic Channel in South Africa, it displays a diverse selection of wildlife images. The display forms part of a worldwide tour, co-owned by the Natural History Museum (NHM) London and BBC Worldwide.
Africa director of National Geographic Channels, Thandi Davids says, "National Geographic Channel International is pleased to be part of this initiative for a second year running. Via its explorers, it has been renowned for its contributions to the preservation of wildlife. This has been one of the driving forces in our continued support for this exhibition. We're even more excited about bringing the experience to Gauteng as well this year, which will generate further engagement by the broader public."Array of wildlife photography
"It is a privilege for the museum to host this world-class exhibition of photographic excellence of natural history. This is the first time the exhibition will be hosted in Gauteng, which is made even more exciting by the fact that the overall winner of the exhibition, Greg Du Toit is from Pretoria," says Makgolo Makgolo, CEO of Ditsong: Museums of South Africa.
Licensed in South Africa by NHU Africa, the exhibition displays an array of wildlife photography and breath taking images of our world that few have ever had the privilege of witnessing. "We are honoured to again to be partnering with National Geographic Channels International and this year we have also formed an exciting partnership with the Ditsong Museum of South Africa. Through the wildlife stories captured in these images and by the photographers behind the lenses, we hope that the public will learn more about both the beauty and harshness of our natural environment," concludes Donfrey Meyer, Head of NHU Africa.