A nosy raccoon, a sloth in the trees and a sweet moment between a human and a grey whale - these are the subjects of the shortlisted images for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London.
The 'highly commended' photos will be on display at the museum from 18 October this year, and entries for the next round of competition will be open from 21 October to 12 December 2019.
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One of the outstanding photos includes a ferocious battle between a cheetah and a pack of wild dogs right in our very own KwaZulu-Natal in Zimanga Private Game Reserve. The insane photo was taken by UK photographer Peter Haygarth while on a photo safari.
"A warthog had just escaped the pack when the leading dogs came across the big cat. At first, the dogs were wary, but as the rest of the 12-strong pack arrived, their confidence grew, and they began to encircle the cat, chirping with excitement," reads the caption on the museum's website.
"The elderly cheetah hissed and lunged back at the mob, his left ear tattered, the right one pinned back in the ruckus. As dust flew in the morning light, Peter kept his focus on the cat's face. In a few minutes the spat was over as the cheetah fled."
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According to Forbes, this is the last batch of photos of the museum's showcase of the world's 100 best nature photography and photojournalism photos.
Dive into these one-of-a-kind photos and read all about the stories behind them.
Lucky break by Jason Bantle
The photographer had been hoping to get this shot for years, going down to the nearby hide every summer in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Sleeping like a Weddell by Ralf Schneider
The Weddell seal hails from Antarctica, but this dozing creature was captured on film at Larsen Harbour on South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
The climbing dead by Frank Deschandol
One of the creepiest shots in the series, this is a 'zombie' fungus that took over a weevil in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, shot while on a night-time field trip.
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Touching trust by Thomas P Peschak
This heartwarming photo was taken by a National Geographic photographer and explorer in San Ignacio Lagoon on the coast of Mexico's Baja California. The grey whales in this region actively seek out humans for a head scratch.
Cool drink by Diana Rebman
Hailing from the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the photographer happened upon this icicle that was offering refreshment to a swarm of long-tailed tits.
Beach waste by Matthew Ware
Probably the most depressing addition to the exhibit, this horrible scene took place on a beach at Alabama's Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge while Ware was out on one of his daily nesting patrols.
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If penguins could fly by Eduardo Del Alamo
The leopard seal isn't like our fuzzy Cape seals - the terrifying hunter off the coast of Cuverville Island in the Antarctic Peninsula played with its prey for about 15 minutes before it devoured the unfortunate Gentoo penguin.
Canopy hangout by Carlos Pérez Naval
This young photographer happened upon the slowest animal in the world on a family trip to Panama's Soberania National Park.
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