Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, showcasing the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for more than half a century.

Produced and toured by the Natural History Museum, London, the exhibition features 99 images that capture fascinating animal behaviour, spectacular species and the breath-taking diversity of our planet.

Launched in 1965 and attracting 361 entries, today the competition receives over 49,000 entries by amateur and professional photographers from all over the globe.

The upcoming exhibition is known as WPY56 as it represents the competition’s fifty-sixth year.

Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov’s exceptional image, The Embrace, won him the 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.  His photo depicts an adult Siberian tiger marking her territory on a tree. It took Gorshkov more than 11 months to capture the image using hidden cameras in Russia's Far East, the only place on Earth where Amur, or Siberian, tigers are found.

Aside from being a visually impressive image, Sergey has managed to photograph an extremely rare animal exhibiting its natural behaviour in a truly wild landscape.

The competition jury were delighted to see an image of a tiger scent-marking, a rarely photographed behaviour. Judge Susan McElhinney described the winning image as 'a rare and intimate glimpse of a very endangered species going about its daily rounds of checking its territorial boundaries or scent-marking, leaving messages and reading the messages of other cats'.

This important part of their behaviour helps tigers to avoid conflict with each other. As judge Jaime Rojo explains, 'These Siberian tigers really need large, well-protected tracts of habitat to survive. Each of them has a big territory.'

Sadly, large-scale deforestation in the region has threatened the habitat of Siberian tigers. As parts of the forest are destroyed, these animals are being forced further into each other's territory, creating an increased chance of conflict.

This, Jaime explains, is why tigers do scent marking: 'They are trying to avoid conflict. If another male trespasses on their territory there will be confrontation, and wild animals try and avoid confrontation.'

WPTY56 will be on show at Puke Ariki Museum’s Temporary Gallery between 14 August –14 November 2021. Free entry, open daily 10am - 5pm.

“This competition has an outstanding reputation in attracting the world’s very best photographers, naturalists and young photographers. There has never been a more vital time for audiences to re-engage with the natural world, and what better way than this inspiring and provocative exhibition. We hope that this year’s exhibition will provide an opportunity for audiences to pause, reflect and ignite a passion of advocating for the natural world.“ – Dr Tim Littlewood, Executive Director of Science, Natural History Museum

14 August 2021 - 14 November 2021
Puke Ariki Museum's Temporary Gallery
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All Ages
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