Sergey Gorshkov Named 2020 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

Life in the balance by Jaime Culebras Spain

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, announced Sergey Gorshkov as the grand title victor during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Museum on 13 October.

Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov scooped the prestigious Natural History Museum prize with his image The Embrace, showing a Siberian tigress hugging a fir tree. But consider this: the camera-trap that took the winning picture was left in the field for 10 months before its memory card with its precious image file was recovered.

Siberian, or Amur tigers, are a subspecies of tiger with a great comeback story.

Gorshkov, a founding member of the Russian Union of Wildlife Photographers, took his photo in Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park.

The Duchess of Cambridge announced the winners at an online awards ceremony broadcast from the Museum of Natural History in London on Tuesday night, where an exhibition of the paintings will be on display.

The grand title winners were selected from 100 of the top images submitted to the competition in categories which highlight the world's rich habitats, animal behaviours and species.

Pictures that won in different categories included a profile shot of a young male proboscis monkey, a rare picture of Ballas cats taken on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and a polar bear in a circus.

"It's a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest", the chair of the judging panel Roz Kidman Cox told the Natural History Museum. Today, although threats from poachers and logging remain, up to 550 Amur tigers roam their old territories.

"The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts".

The Duchess of Cambridge, patron of the Natural History Museum and a keen photographer herself, announced the victor in the London tourist attraction's famous Hintze Hall. The museum will let only a limited number of visitors following all safety guidelines during COVID-19 to ensure it is a "safe and welcoming experience" to view the photographs in a crowd-free gallery.