A leopard seems to strike a regal pose in China in the winning photograph of the annual BBC Wildlife Camera Trap Competition.

Photographer Zhou Zhefeng snagged both the top prize and a category win for Animal Portraits.

Established in 2010, the contest features the most "visually exciting" or significant camera-trap images taken by conservationists worldwide, according to the contest website.

"As forward leaps in technology go, camera traps have been relatively unsung," the website noted. Sensitive and affordable, these traps have given a huge boost to field researchers.

For example, "camera traps don't need to sleep or eat, but keep constant watch on key patches of habitat, ready to detect the action and providing priceless insights into wildlife movements, populations, and distribution."

The winning images will be published in the December issue of BBC Wildlife magazine.

Photograph courtesy Zhou Zhefeng, BBC Wildlife Magazine

Apparently camera-shy, a sloth bear spits at the camera in India. The image won WWF-India a prize of runner-up in the Animal Behaviour category.

Found predominantly in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan, the sloth bear is considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Habitat loss and poaching—mainly for the commercial trade in body parts—are the bear's main threats, the report says. And in India sloth bears are captured live and made to perform on the roadside, according to IUCN.

Spitting Sloth Bear Photograph courtesy Anil Cherukupalli, BBC Wildlife Magazine

A horned guan perches on a tree in Guatemala in an image that won runner-up in the Animal Portraits category.

This cloud forest dweller is considered endangered because remaining populations are very small, severely fragmented, and, given continuing threats, presumably declining, according to IUCN.

Horned Guan Photograph courtesy Javier Rivas, BBC Wildlife Magazine

Commended in the Animal Portraits category was this image of a common genet in the Hawf Protected Area in Yemen.

Long, lean carnivores with a long tail, genets appear catlike and are agile climbers in their forest homes, according to the University of Michigan.

Common Genet Photograph courtesy Sebastian Kennerknecht, Wildlife Magazine

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