In September, the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016 announced the winners of its annual photo contest, showcasing the beauty and diversity of animal life in Britain. The competition, which was established in 2009, is divided into 15 categories such as Animal Portraits, Urban Wildlife and Animal Behaviour, with a 1st prize winner selected for each. An overall winner is then selected from this group of category winners.

Photographer Goerge Stoyle took the top spot of Overall Winner for his “Hitchhikers” entry. The image shows a young fish taking refuge inside the tentacles of a lion’s mane jellyfish. Stoyle’s photo is also the winning image of the Coast and Marine category.

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“Hitchhikers”: Coast and Marine and The Overall Winner of the BWPA 2016 (Photo credit:George Stoyle/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

“I was working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a project to assess the current biological status of major sea caves around some of the UK’s most remote islands,” said Stoyle of his dive off the island of Hirta, Scotland. “At the end of one of the dives I was swimming back to the boat when I came face to ‘face’ with the largest jellyfish I’d ever encountered.”

The awards celebrate both the work of amateur and professional photographers and this year the BWPA received thousands of submissions. Here are more stunning photos that won top honours in their respective categories:

Animal Behaviour

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“Back Garden Babies”, Garden spider, Nottinghamshire, England (Photo credit: Kurt Spindley/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

British Seasons

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“Common weasel” through autumn, winter, springtime and summer. North Yorkshire, England (Photo credit: Robert E Fuller/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Animal Portraits

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“Contemplation”, Mountain hare, Tomatin, Inverness, Scotland (Photo credit: Jamie Mina/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)


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“Twisted Green”, Derbyshire, England (Photo credit: Steve Palmer/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Botanical Britain

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“Bird Seed”, Silver birch and Garden spider web, Norfolk, England (Photo credit: David Maitland/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Documentary Series

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“Harvest Mice”, Monitoring and tracking (Photo credit: Nick Upton/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

British Nature in Black and White

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“Free Bird”, London, England (Photo credit: Chaitanya Deshpande/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Urban Wildlife

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“The Supermarket Starling”, Cornwall, England (Photo credit: Geoff Trevarthen/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Close to Nature

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“Tadpoles”, Bristol, England (Photo credit: Jeanette Sakel/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Hidden Britain

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“Emergence”, Goring, Oxfordshire, England (Photo credit: Stephen Darlington/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)


“Living Space”, Bass Rock, East Lothian, Scotland (Photo credit: Charles Everitt/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

The BWPA also created two junior categories to encourage young people to connect with nature through photography.

WildPix – 12-18 Years

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“Kung Fu Puffin”, by Rebecca Bunce (age 18), Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales (Photo credit: Rebecca Bunce/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

WildPix: Under 12

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“Cygnet with Swan” by Seren Waite (age 10), London, England (Photo credit: Seren Waite/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

The BWPA’s aim is to highlight Britain-based photographers and to showcase the biodiversity, species, and habitats found in the United Kingdom. For higher resolution versions of these photos and other highly-recommended images from this year’s contest, visit



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