15 Of The Best Wildlife Photos Of 2018 (WARNING: Some Images May Be Too Brutal)

The wait is over. Everyone who was enjoying 2017, 2016 and 51 earlier 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' (WPY) competitions has just received this year's biggest treat. London's Natural History Museum announced the winners of the 2018 contest, and the images reveal the abundance, beauty, resilience and vulnerability of life on Earth.

The winning photos were chosen from more than 45,000 entries from 95 countries for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of the natural world. The international jury awarded the grand title to Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten for his shot, titled "The Golden Couple." The breathtaking picture features a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains. "It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished," Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, said in a press release.

"It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world." Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this particular part of China, and their numbers are steadily decreasing, mainly because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.

"As we were going through the entries, we just kept coming back to this one," Roz Kidman Coz added. "It's almost like a stage set. I think what makes it are the colours and the lighting. These monkeys normally feed in the trees, but somehow Marsel's managed to catch them on the ground, and he's carefully thrown a very gentle flash on to the scene to illuminate that amazing fur."

More info: nhm.ac.uk

#1 "The Midnight Passage" By Vegard Lødøen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment
#2 "Cool Cat" By Isak Pretorius, South Africa, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits
#3 Elephants At Twilight By Frans Lanting, The Netherlands, Winner 2018 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Lifetime Achievement Award
#4 "Smoke Bath" By Tom Kennedy, Ireland, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife
#5 "Pipe Owls" By Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018 10 Years And Under
#6 "City Fisher" By Felix Heintzenberg, Germany / Sweden, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife
#7 "A Bear On The Edge" By Sergey Gorshkov, Russia, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment
#8 "Argentine Quickstep" By Darío Podestá, Argentina, Highly Commended 2018 Animal Portraits
#9 "Kuhirwa Mourns Her Baby" By Ricardo Núñez Montero, Spain, Winner 2018 Behaviours Mammals
#10 "The Golden Couple" By Marsel Van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner
#11 "Small World" By Carlos Perez Naval, Spain, Highly Commended 2018 11–14 Years Old
#12 "Kitten Combat" By Julius Kramer, Germany, Highly Commended 2018 Behaviours Mammals
#13 "School Visit" By Adrian Bliss, Uk, Highly Commended 2018 Urban Wildlife
#14 "Eye To Eye" By Emanuele Biggi, Italy, Highly Commended 2018 Animals In Their Environment
#15 "Night Snack" By Audun Rikardsen, Norway, Highly Commended 2018 Under Water