Pictures of a pouting boxfish, a giggling lion and ninja prairie dog are among the 'best entries so far' in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography awards, organisers say.

The annual photography competition is free to enter and is still open to anyone with a funny photo of our feathered or furry friends June 30, 2021. Now in its seventh year, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has already received thousands of entries from around the world, with six weeks still to go.

This year, the competition organisers are releasing some of the shots that have already had them howling like hyenas, to inspire both professional and amateur photographers to enter their own images before the deadline.

The chosen photographs show animals from across the planet, from Africa, the Caribbean to Brazil, captured at the perfect time. They include images of a moody pied starling showcasing its best frown, a bald eagle receiving a surprise from a prairie dog in Colorado and a group of penguins enjoying a surfing session in the Falkland Islands.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was co-founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam.

The duo wanted to create a competition that focused on the lighter side of wildlife photography and help promote the conservation of wildlife and habitats. An image of an Eagle being surprised by a prairie dog was captured by Arthur Trevino in the US, he described it as a 'real David vs Goliath story.'

A young lion in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, apparently laughing at the photography skills of Giovanni Querzani

'When this Bald Eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow.'

Each year, the competition highlights a charity working tirelessly to protect vulnerable species, donating 10 per cent of its total net revenue to the charity.This year they are donating to Save Wild Orangutans, an initiative that safeguards wild orangutans in and around Gunung Palung National Park, Borneo.

Arthur Trevino from Longmont, US, caught this bald eagle being surprised by a prairie dog, saying the dog jumped towards the eagle, startling it long enough to escape into a burrow

Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE, Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Co-Founder, said: “A lot of wildlife shown in these images are facing threats to their populations and habitats that are heart-breaking.

'With this competition, we wanted to capture people’s attention and energy by giving them a giggle. In order to protect animals, we need people to fall in love with them.

'We think these wondrous shots show a side of wildlife that we don’t often get to see. They remind us of the beauty, and comedy, in our natural world that needs protecting.'The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021 is free to enter, with photographers able to enter up to ten photographs across six different categories.

Lea Scaddan from Perth caught the image of these two Western Grey Kangaroos who were fighting

The images shared by the awards organisers are designed to showcase the 'best so far', but suggest many more images could still be submitted and the first prize award is 'wide open'.

One image they shared was taken by Lucy Beveridge from Spain, it shows a young springbok 'all ears and spindly legs pronking' at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa.

Lucy Beveridge from Madrid, Spain caught this young springbok, all ears and spindly legs, in midair while pronking as the sun started to rise over the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

'There's not much information on why the Springbok pronk but some theories suggest it is a way of showing fitness and strength to ward off predators and attract mates.

'It has also been said that this small, dainty and largely unappreciated antelope also pronks out of excitement, jumping for joy!'

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