The winner of the annual wildlife photography contest will be announced on Feb. 7
Twenty-five incredible images are making up the shortlist for the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s People’s Choice Award.
Earlier this week, the images were chosen by the Natural History Museum in London, which hosts the annual exhibition, and an international judging panel, according to the museum's website.
Among the stunning wildlife portraits are an image of a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago and a photograph of two lionesses grooming one of the pride’s five cubs in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Other shots featured include a group of penguins socializing in Antarctica’s Atka Bay, as well as a photo of a group of starlings forming into the shape of a giant bird in the sky.
Judges narrowed down the 25 selected images from 49,957 entries sent in from 95 countries, according to CNN.
The public is now able to vote online for whichever image they think is best through Jan. 31.
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The winner and the top four images will then be announced on Feb. 7. They will be displayed online, as well as in the in-person exhibition at the Natural History Museum.
The photographs will be on display at the London-based attraction until June 30.
The People's Choice Award winner for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards in 2022 was Sascha Fonseca's "World of the Snow Leopard," which won the competition with a whopping 60,466 votes.
The image featured a rare and elusive snow leopard on a snowy mountain in the Indian Himalayas, looking out at the colorful sky. Fonseca said she set up a bait-free camera trap on the cliffside for three years to capture the shot.
"I'm incredibly proud to be the winner of this year's People's Choice Award, and I thank all the supporters around the world for making this happen," the German photographer said in a prior announcement. "Photography can connect people to wildlife and encourage them to appreciate the beauty of the unseen natural world."
Fonesca added, "I believe that a greater understanding of wildlife leads to deeper caring, which hopefully results in active support and greater public interest for conservation."
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