Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 reveals incredible insights into life in the animal kingdom

Greg du Toit's 'once-in-a-lifetime shot' Essence of elephants took top prize tonight at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013, with 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar crowned Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for Mother's little headful.

Chair of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year judging panel Jim Brandenburg described Greg du Toit's winning portrait as capturing a 'unique moment'.

'Greg's image immediately catapults us to African plains,' Brandenburg said. 'This image stood out for both its technical excellence and the unique moment it captures. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime shot.'

Quest for the perfect portrait

Du Toit spent 10 years on a quest for the perfect portrayal of an elephant herd. His goal was 'to throw caution to the wind,' he said, 'to abandon conventional photographic practices in an attempt to capture a unique elephant portrait'.

Raven- Photo by Chris Aydlett

He took the winning shot of African elephants on the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana. It beat 43,000 entries from 96 countries.

Fourteen-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar took his winning shot on the banks of the Chambal River in Madhya Pradesh, India, an area increasingly under threat from illegal sand mining and fishing.

Mammals Behaviour Winner: The Spat by Joe McDonald (US) 

Pawar camped out overnight near a nesting colony of gharials (freshwater crocodiles) to capture his early morning shot. There are only around 200 gharial crocodiles left in the wild. The Chambral Rivers is the gharial's last stronghold, but overhunting and destruction of the habitat through dam building has reduced their range significantly.

Behaviour, Cold-Blooded Animals Winner: Dive buddy by Luis Javier Sandoval (Mexico)

'When dawn broke, I saw this scene,' Pawar said. 'The mother crocodile rose to the surface from the murky depths of the river in response to the guttural calls of the hatchlings, which then rushed towards her and climbed on her head.'

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 Winner: Mother's Little Headful by Udayan Rao Pawar (India)

Judge Tui De Roy, a naturalist and wildlife photographer, said of the image, 'The composition and timing of Udayan's photograph is perfect. The mother's gaze seems directed at you, appealing to you to let her live and thrive in peace. This image is beautiful and thought-provoking, but at the same time wonderfully playful.'

You can see the grand title winners and all 100 finalists in the exhibition opening at the Museum on Friday 18 October.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 and Animal Portraits Winner: Essence of Elephants by Greg du Toit (South Africa)

Eric Hosking Portfolio Award Winner: Lucky Pounce by Connor Stefanison (Canada)

Responses to "Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 – in pictures"

  1. DIANE MOSS says:


  2. cattygirl says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos.You continue to bring the world to all of us. :-)

  3. BARBARA says:

    Absolutely beautiful images...wonderful in every way...

  4. Anonymous says:

    I feel privileged to see these amazing photos! Thankyou. Tanya Ashken

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