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We all have that friend by Yarin Klein. Brown bears at Kuril Lake, Kamchatka, Russia. Yarin Klein / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Sun salutation class by Sue Hollis. Sea lion in the Galapagos Islands. Sue Hollis / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Lamentation! by Jacques Poulard. Polar bear in Spitzbergen, Norway. Jacques Poulard / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020

Last month, a new report from the World Wildlife Fund revealed that almost 21,000 monitored populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians had experienced an average decline of 68% since 1970. In Latin America and the Caribbean, that number rose to 94%. Only 25% of our planet’s ice-free land is still considered wilderness; the rest has been significantly altered by humankind. 

Shortly after these mind-boggling numbers were released, the finalists for the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards were announced. Since 2016, these awards have highlighted the beauty, personality, and humor of the nature world, while also supporting the incredible work of the animal welfare and wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation. This year’s finalists made us laugh, but they also gave us the faces behind all the statistics, revealing what’s at stake if we continue to exploit the planet and its inhabitants. 

2020 attracted more entries than ever in the history of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, proving that despite travel limitations, our connection to the natural world remains at the forefront of our minds. That connection reveals itself in the damage we do the environment–and the devastating consequences of those actions on human health–but it also reveals itself in our ability to empathize with species of all kinds, as demonstrated by this year’s finalists. 

From a waving bear to a photobombing giraffe, these images remind us of the ties that bind us all, across species, inspiring hope for a better world.  The winners of the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards will be announced on October 27th and will likely be accompanied by a virtual celebration. “We are making plans for a fantasmical (it’s a word, definitely) online awards night,” the team says. 

Having a Laugh by Ken Crossan. A common seal in Caithness, Scotland. Ken Crossan / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Smiley by Arthur Telle Thiemann. A Sparisoma cretense in El Hierro, Canary Islands. Arthur Telle Thiemann / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Terry the Turtle flipping the bird by Mark Fitzpatrick. Lady Elliot Island, Queensland, Australia. Mark Fitzpatrick / Comedy Wildlife Awards 2020
Seriously, would you share some by Krisztina Scheef. Atlantic puffins in Scotland. Krisztina Scheef / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
So hot by Wei Ping Peng. A snow monkey in Japan. Wei Ping Peng / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Crashing into the picture by Brigitte Alcalay Marcon. Giraffe in Etosha National Park. Namibia. Brigitte Alcalay Marcon / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Wait up Mommy, look what I got for you by Kunal Gupta. Elephants in Kaziranga, India. Kunal Gupta / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
O Sole Mio by Roland Kranitz. Spermophile in Hungary. Roland Kranitz / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Social distance please by Petr Sochman. Rose-ringed parakeets in Kaudulla national park, Sri Lanka. Petr Sochman / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Tough Negotiations by Ayala Fishaimer. A fox and a rodent in Israel. Ayala Fishaimer / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Surprise Smiles by Asaf Sereth. Dwarf mongoose at Lake Bogoria, Kenya. Asaf Sereth / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020
Fun For All Ages by Thomas Vijayan. Langurs in Kabini, India. Thomas Vijayan / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020

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