The coronavirus pandemic made us look inward, and find new ways to engage with ourselves and everything around us. Many of us took recourse in nature’s embrace, escaping the humdrum of a fast-paced world struggling to find sanity. Amid this chaos, 4,300 photographers from around the world chose to share the wild beauty that they captured, entering National Wildlife Federation’s 50th annual photo contest in 2021.
In addition to the Grand Prize — called the Nature’s Witness Award — the National Wildlife Federation announced first- and second-place awards in each of eight categories: Mammals, Birds, Baby Animals, Landscapes & Plants, People in Nature, Other Wildlife, Young Nature photographers and Mobile. A single winner was also chosen in a new Portfolio category.
All 40,400 entries to the contest are tied by a singular thread - their love for nature. The 18 winning photos, which evoke laughter, tears, anger and every emotion all at once, offer a glimpse into the vast diversity of animals that coexist with us, and their homes.
The greatest purpose of these photographs is to inspire us into action. These seemingly obvious images raise pertinent questions on human-animal conflicts and the dangers that loom large as our planet faces its biggest challenge — to conserve the present and save the future.