American photographer Tim Laman won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 for his image Entwined lives. It frames a critically endangered Bornean orangutan above the Indonesian rainforest.

Beating almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries, Tim’s image will be on show with 99 other shots selected by an international panel of judges at the fifty-second Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It opens at the Natural History Museum on 21 October 2016 before touring across the UK and internationally to locations such as Spain, Canada, the USA, Germany and Macau.

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Tim spent three days rope-climbing the 30 metre tall tree to set several GoPro cameras that he could trigger remotely. This captured the orangutan’s face from above within a wide-angle perspective of the forest below

Wild orangutans face a crisis of habitat loss due to agriculture and logging. Combined with increased poaching for the illegal pet trade the species’ future seems bleak.

‘Protecting their remaining habitat is critical for orangutans to survive. If we want to preserve a great ape that retains its vast culturally transmitted knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest and the full richness of wild orangutan behaviour, then we need to protect orangutans in the wild, now’, says Tim.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, London, which runs the competition, comments: ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year highlights some of the big questions for society and the environment: How can we protect biodiversity? Can we learn to live in harmony with nature? The winning images touch our hearts, and challenge us to think differently about the natural world.’

Sixteen-year-old Gideon Knight from the UK won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year title for his image The moon and the crow.

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Shot near his London home it shows the twigs of a sycamore tree silhouetted against the blue dusk sky and the full moon. This ‘makes it feel almost supernatural, like something out of a fairy tale,’ says Gideon.

‘If an image could create a poem, it would be like this. It should certainly inspire a few lines,’ says Lewis Blackwell, Chair of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year jury. ‘The image epitomises what the judges are always looking for – a fresh observation on our natural world, delivered with artistic flair.’

Eviction attempt – Ganesh Shankar

Winner, Birds

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Wind composition – Valter Binotto

Winner, Plants and Fungi

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The alley cat – Nayan Khanolkar

Winner, Urban

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Playing pangolin – Lance van de Vyer

Finalist, Black & White

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Snapper party – Tony Wu

Winner, Underwater

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The aftermath – Simon Stafford

Winner, Mammals

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Wild West stand-off – Charlie Hamilton James

Finalist, Mammals

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The pangolin pit – Paul Hilton

Winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single image

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