Photo: nhm : Bence Mate
The winner of this year's Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is Bence Mate with his photo of leaf-cutter ants in action.
Last year's winner was withdrawn because of a major scandal: the picture of a wolf jumping over a gate was staged. Presumably it would be hard to fake ants chomping on a leaf. The winner is from Costa Rica and won the prize in 2001 as well. He spent hours in the Costa Rican rainforest following the ants' path. He said "The variation in the size of the pieces they cut was fascinating - sometimes small ants seemed to carry huge bits, bigger ones just small pieces." About his winning shot, he says, "I love the contrast between the simplicity of the shot itself and the complexity of the behaviour."
Photo: nhm : Fergus Gill
The Veolia Environnement young wildlife photographer of the year prize was awarded to Fergus Gill from Scotland for the second year in a row. His photo captures a bird on a cold morning. About it he said "The hovering fieldfare is posed as an artist might paint it, the delicate yellow of the frozen berries echoing its breast feathers. A winning gem of a picture." This rather confident young man won his first prize at just 14 and has been taking pictures of wildlife since he was nine.
Photo: nhm : Ken Dyball
This dramatic photo of a caracal (it's sort of related to the lynx) in Kenya's Masai Mara, was highly commended. The terrified cat was captured on film, having leaped into a tree when a herd of wildebeest galloped by.
Photo: nhm : Joel Sartore
This ghastly photo of dead frogs was taken in California, in the Sierra Nevada. They have been killed by a chytrid fungus, which causes the infectious disease chytridiomycosis, and has caused the decline and impending extinction of at least 200 species of frogs and other amphibians worldwide. The impact on frogs has caused the biggest loss of vertebrate life due to disease ever recorded.