Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year – wildlife captured like never before

Owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the annual competition is the most prestigious of its kind and this year is proudly sponsored by Veolia Environnement.

A sneak preview of what to expect from their global search for the best and most creative visions of nature has been revealed in anticipation of the announcement of the competition winners on October 22, 2009 and the exhibition of the best 95 images opening at the Natural History Museum the following day.

This year the competition has seen a record increase of entries, up 33 per cent from 2008, with a growth of entries from countries like China and Russia.

Jean-Dominique Mallet, CEO of Veolia Environmental Services (UK) Plc says: ‘’As the world leader in environmental services, Veolia Environnement works with businesses, communities and governments to minimise our daily impact on the environment. It is therefore our privilege to sponsor a competition that features the world’s best wildlife photography and puts into clear focus the beauty and richness of nature which we all have a communal responsibility to protect.’’

Natural History Museum Competition Manager, Gemma Webster said: “This year we had the first-ever entries from photographers in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Macedonia, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and Bahrain, and we’ve had our first category winners from Estonia, Zambia and the Czech Republic. These entries highlight the competition’s international appeal and its status as the world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition.”

British photographer Robert Friel was highly commended in the One Earth Award category, which seeks to highlight interaction between humans and the natural world. He captured his amusing, but thought-provoking, Footsteps photo of a curious king penguin chick on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.

‘As I was walking back along the foreshore to the landing site, I was looking at the tracks penguins were making in the wet sand when a chick walked towards my footprints. It seemed to consider them briefly before moving back to the other groups of penguins. I thought it merely a quirky moment, but later it became a more poignant reminder that, however brief and well managed our visits, we are intruding on their environment,’ Robert said.

The winning selection of 95 images will be showcased at an exhibition opening at London’s Natural History Museum on 23 October, for more information on the competition or to purchase advance tickets please visit www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto/exhibition.