Humans are rarely offered a glimpse into the raw, unfiltered world of the animal kingdom. But the astounding images from the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London, throw into sharp relief the brutality of predator-prey interactions and the resilience of species around the world.
This year, photographers traipsed through the Amazonian jungles of Peru, dove deep into the waters of French Polynesia, and stalked isolated ice floes in Antarctica to capture images of animals’ struggles to survive and get a decent meal.
Picture takers from 100 countries submitted 48,000 entries for the contest, including photos of a leopard seal lunging for a penguin, a male hippo crushing a newborn in its jaws, and a sea turtle strangled by a rope.
Here are 14 of the “highly commended” front-runners in this year’s contest. The overall winners will be announced on October 15.