The breathtaking winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards

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The Natural History Museum's annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is one of the most prestigious photography contests in the world. This year's winners were awarded last night at the Natural History Museum in London.

The competition received over 50,000 entries from 95 different countries. A panel of experts narrowed this down to a shortlist of just 100 photos, which will go on exhibition at the Natural History Museum on Friday before touring across the UK and internationally.

The overall winner was American biologist and photojournalist, Tim Laman, for his image 'Entwined Lives' (right).

An overall winner award was also given to the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year — for contestants under the age of 17. This year's victor was young Londoner, Gideon Knight, for his image 'The moon and the crow'.

Other award categories included 'Birds', 'Plants and Fungi', 'Urban', 'Underwater' and more.

Unsurprisingly, the images that made the final cut are some of the most breathtaking you will see this year — take a look at them all below.

11 PHOTOS
Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners

Winner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 — 'Entwined lives', Tim Laman (USA) — An endangered orangutan makes its way up a strangler fig tree in Indonesia.

Photo by Tim Laman / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 — 'The moon and the crow', Gideon Knight (UK) — The spindly twigs of the sycamore tree silhouetted against the sky ‘made it feel almost supernatural, like something out of a fairytale,’ says Gideon.

Photo by Gideon Knight / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single image — 'The pangolin pit', Paul Hilton (UK/Australia) — 4,000 defrosting pangolins weighing 5 tonnes from one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. They were destined for China and Vietnam for the exotic‐meat trade or for traditional medicine.

Photo by Paul Hilton / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Underwater — 'Snapper party', Tony Wu (USA) — Two‐spot red snappers gather to spawn around Palau in the western Pacific Ocean.

Photo by Tony Wu / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Urban — 'The alley cat', Nayan Khanolkar (India) — In this suburb of Mumbai, leopards slip ghost-like through the maze of alleys.

Photo by Nayan Khanolkar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Details — 'The sand canvas', Rudi Sebastian (Germany) — The pristine white sand of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. In the dry season, sand from the coast is blown as far as 50 kilometres inland

Photo by Rudi Sebastian / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Black and White — 'Requiem for an owl', Mats Andersson (Sweden) — Eurasian pygmy owls are the smallest owls in Europe, barely 7 inches long.

Photo by Mats Andersson / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Plants and Fungi — 'Wind composition', Valter Binotto (Italy) — With every gust of wind, showers of pollen are released from these hazel tree flowers.

Photo by Valter Binotto / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Impressions — 'Star player', Luis Javier Sandoval (Mexico) — Young sea lions often play games to hone their skills. This one kept throwing a starfish at the photographer.

Photo by Luis Javier Sandoval / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner, Birds — 'Eviction attempt', Ganesh H Shankar (India) — These Indian rose-ringed parakeets returned to their nest to find a Bengal monitor lizard had taken up residence.

Photo by Ganesh H. Shankar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

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SEE ALSO: 15 breathtaking entries from National Geographic's Nature Photographer of the Year contest

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