A remarkable photo of a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains titled “The Golden Couple,” earned Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a prestigious award presented by London’s Natural History Museum. The image beat more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries to win.
“This image is in one sense traditional—a portrait. But what a striking one, and what magical animals,” said chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox in a press release. “It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished. It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world.”
Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this part what part of central China, and their numbers are decreasing primarily because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.
Other winners include Skye Meaker, who achieved Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with an absorbing portrait of a leopard waking from a slumber in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.
You can browse the gallery of winning photos here.
Friends of Animals is uplifted to know there is an increase in people shooting wildlife with cameras rather than guns. A third of the U.S. population 16 years and older, 86 million people, enjoyed wildlife watching according to the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation. That’s a 21 percent increase from 2011. Of those, 13.7 million people photographed wildlife away from their home, and 30.5 million people around their home.
Read more here in our Action Line article about the rise of wildlife watching on the rise and hunters being on borrowed time