News Animals Curious Animals and Chance Encounters Highlight Photo Entries They're vying for Wildlife Photographer of the Year honors. By Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo DiLonardo LinkedIn Twitter Senior Writer University of Cincinnati Mary Jo DiLonardo has worked in print, online, and broadcast journalism for 25 years and covers nature, health, science, and animals. Learn about our editorial process Published September 5, 2022 10:00AM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Dmitry Kokh / Wildlife Photographer of the Year News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive There’s a half-hidden giraffe, a lounging polar bear, what look like interesting conversations between a beetle and a rabbit, and a sloth with a dog. Those are some of the highly commended images for the 2022 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Now in its 58th year, the contest has drawn photographers from 93 countries of all ages and experience levels. “Polar frame,” above, by Dmitry Kokh is a noteworthy entry in the animal portraits category. Kokh was in a boat that was approaching the island of Kolyuchin in the Russian high Arctic. He saw movement in one of the houses on a settlement that had been abandoned by humans since 1992 and found more than 20 polar bears had moved into the area. Kohn used a low-noise drone to photograph what he saw. The entries are being judged by a panel of an international panel of experts including wildlife photographers, filmmakers, and researchers. “What’s stayed with me is not just the extraordinary mix of subjects in this year’s collection—a vast panorama of the natural world –but the emotional strength of so many of the pictures,” Roz Kidman Cox, chair of the judging panel, said in a statement. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. Winning photos will be announced on Oct. 11 and then become part of an exhibition at the museum. Here are some of this year’s highly commended images. “Dipper dispute” Heikki Nikki / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Heikki Nikki, FinlandCategory: Behavior: Birds After years of visiting the same river in Kuusamo, Finland, Heikki Nikki knew all the rocks that white-throated dippers loved to use as a launch pad when they go fishing. Nikki sat quietly on the bank and was able to capture a moment when two dippers argued over the spot. “Treefrog pool party” Brandon Guell / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Brandon Güell, Costa Rica/U.S. Category: Behavior—Amphibians and Reptiles Brandon Güell slogged chest-deep through mosquitoes and murky water in the Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas, Costa Rica to document a gathering of male gliding tree frogs that were looking for females to mate with. “The disappearing giraffe” Jose Fragozo / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Jose Fragozo, Portugal Category: Natural Artistry Jose Fragozo shows the contrast between the natural world and human construction as he photographs a giraffe in Nairobi National Park near the gray-blocked pillars of Kenya’s new Standard Gauge Railway. “The Snow Stag” Joshua Cox / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Joshua Cox/U.K.Category: 10 Years and Under Young photographer Joshua Cox was with his father in Richmond Park, London, which is home to herds of red and fallow deer. They followed a deer as snow began to fall. "He almost looked as if he was having a snow shower," says Joshua. “The octopus case” Samuel Sloss / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Samuel Sloss, Italy/U.S. Category: 15-17 Years Samuel Sloss was muck diving (diving close to the ocean floor) in Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia when he spotted a coconut octopus peeking out from a clam shell. He lowered his light in order not to stress the animal. First, it shut the lid of the shell as Samuel approached, but then slowly opened it. “Burrow mates” Morgan Heim/ Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Morgan Heim, U.S. Category: Animals in their Environment Morgan Heim set up camera traps near the burrows of pygmy rabbits in the Columbia Basin in Washington state to see what she could document. She caught this moment as a rabbit sniffed a stink beetle that had been using the burrow for shelter. “The right look “ Richard Robinson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Richard Robinson, New ZealandCategory: Animal Portraits A young whale became quite intrigued by Richard Robinson in the waters of Port Ross, Auckland Island, New Zealand. Robinson interacted with the calf for nearly 30 minutes as it circled him, swam off, then returned to check him out again. “Underwater wonderland” Tiina TÃ¶rmÃ¤nen / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Tiina Törmänen, FinlandCategory: Under Water Tiina Törmänen snorkeled through cloud-like algae in Honkalampi, Posio, Finland, where she found a school of interested European perch. In the past, she’s only ever found dead fish because the algae use up oxygen and threaten aquatic wildlife. “Sloth dilemma” Suzi Eszterhas / Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photographer: Suzi Eszterhas, U.S.Category: Urban Wildlife Suzi Eszterhas captures the moment a brown-throated sloth met a dog in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. The sloth had just crossed a road but needed to crawl to make it to the next group of trees. It froze, but the dog had taken part in a sloth-safety program and simply sniffed it.