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Winning image for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award is declared. Find out if YOUR favourite claimed the crown…

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A dreamy image of a polar bear drifting to sleep on a ‘bed’ carved into an iceberg has been voted the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award (WPY). 

It was taken by British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani while exploring Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on an expedition ship. She beat four highly commended finalists to claim the crown. 

The 25 images in the running for this year’s People’s Choice Award received a record number of votes, with over 75,000 wildlife photography and nature fans from around the world casting their ballots to name Nima this year’s winner. 

Nima captured her remarkable picture – called ‘Ice Bed’ – after three days searching for polar bears in thick fog. The expedition vessel she was on decided to change course and headed towards an area of sea ice. Here they encountered two polar bears.

Just before midnight, the young male clambered onto a small iceberg and, using his strong paws, clawed away at it to carve out a bed for himself. Nima captured the dreamlike moment the young bear drifted off to sleep. 

This dreamy image of a polar bear drifting to sleep on a ‘bed’ carved into an iceberg has been voted the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award (WPY). It was taken by British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani while exploring Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on an expedition ship

This dreamy image of a polar bear drifting to sleep on a ‘bed’ carved into an iceberg has been voted the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award (WPY). It was taken by British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani while exploring Norway’s Svalbard archipelago on an expedition ship 

Mark Boyd's highly commended 'Shared Parenting' photo shows a pair of lionesses devotedly grooming a cub in Kenya's Maasai Mara

Mark Boyd’s highly commended ‘Shared Parenting’ photo shows a pair of lionesses devotedly grooming a cub in Kenya’s Maasai Mara

For 'Aurora Jellies', highly commended finalist Audun Rikardsen photographed two moon jellyfish in the cool autumnal waters of a fjord outside Tromsø in northern Norway, illuminated by the aurora borealis

For ‘Aurora Jellies’, highly commended finalist Audun Rikardsen photographed two moon jellyfish in the cool autumnal waters of a fjord outside Tromsø in northern Norway, illuminated by the aurora borealis 

Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Douglas Gurr, said: ‘Nima’s breathtaking and poignant image allows us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet. His thought-provoking image is a stark reminder of the integral bond between an animal and its habitat and serves as a visual representation of the detrimental impacts of climate warming and habitat loss.’ 

Nima says: ‘I am so honoured to have won this year’s People’s Choice award for WPY, the most prestigious wildlife photography competition. This photograph has stirred strong emotions in many of those who have seen it. 

‘Whilst climate change is the biggest challenge we face, I hope that this photograph also inspires hope – there is still time to fix the mess we have caused.’

The work of the four other finalists spanned the globe to depict nature at its most miraculous.

Mark Boyd, from Kenya, submitted ‘Shared Parenting’. It shows a pair of lionesses devotedly grooming one of the pride’s five cubs in Kenya’s Maasai Mara. 

'The Happy Turtle', by finalist Tzahi Finkelstein from Israel, shows a Balkan pond turtle sharing a moment of fascinating peaceful coexistence with a northern banded groundling dragonfly in Israel's Jezreel Valley

‘The Happy Turtle’, by finalist Tzahi Finkelstein from Israel, shows a Balkan pond turtle sharing a moment of fascinating peaceful coexistence with a northern banded groundling dragonfly in Israel’s Jezreel Valley 

Highly commended 'Starling Murmuration' by Daniel Dencescu shows a mesmerising mass of starlings swirling into the shape of a giant bird on their way to communal roosts above Rome, Italy

Highly commended ‘Starling Murmuration’ by Daniel Dencescu shows a mesmerising mass of starlings swirling into the shape of a giant bird on their way to communal roosts above Rome, Italy 

For ‘Aurora Jellies’, finalist Audun Rikardsen, from Norway, photographed two moon jellyfish in the cool autumnal waters of a fjord outside Tromsø in northern Norway, illuminated by the aurora borealis. It’s common for this species to gather in their hundreds under the Northern Lights.

‘The Happy Turtle’, by finalist Tzahi Finkelstein from Israel, shows a Balkan pond turtle sharing a moment of fascinating peaceful coexistence with a northern banded groundling dragonfly in Israel’s Jezreel Valley.

‘Starling Murmuration’, meanwhile, by Daniel Dencescu shows a mesmerising mass of starlings swirling into the shape of a giant bird on their way to communal roosts above Rome, Italy.

Wildlife Photographer of the year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. Images entered into the 60th competition are currently being judged by an international panel of experts. 

The winners will be announced at the next annual awards ceremony, which takes place in South Kensington in October 2024.

Visitors can see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition until 30 June, 2024, at the Natural History Museum.

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