Flashes of animal magic as stunning wildlife photos go on display at zoo

Overall winner: Panther Chameleon by Simone Sbaraglia
Overall winner: Panther Chameleon by Simone Sbaraglia
  • New temporary exhibition launches at Whipsnade showing off some of the planet’s best animal pictures
  • Stunning image of a striking panther chameloen which won top prize is the star attraction
  • Tring photographer Sally Kilpin’s category-winning picture of a zebra will also go on display
  • Kate Humble and Bill Oddie on panel of judges
  • Winning entries get a share of £10k prize fund

Award-winning animal photography featuring some truly breathtaking images has gone on display at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

A new temporary exhibition at the zoo launched today features winning entries from the ZSL’s annual Animal Photography Prize, chosen by judges including TV’s Kate Humble and ornithologist Bill Oddie.

The top prize was given to photographer Simone Sbaraglia for this stunning image of a striking panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) above, framed by a backdrop of jungle foliage, as it snares its prey with alarming accuracy.

Mr Sbaraglia spent days waiting to capture the perfect shot, in a bid to encourage more people to connect with nature.

He said: “I spent a significant amount of time trying to learn the animal’s behaviour to try and anticipate this moment. I hope that when people see it they are amazed by this animal and learn to love and respect it.”

Other images on display in the exhibition include a captivating black and white close-up of a mighty orangutan, and the joyful shot of a Gentoo penguin leaping over waves.

The exhibition will even feature a brilliant image by Tring photographer Sally Kilpin who won the Weird and Wonderful category with her shot of a zebra titled A Striking Pose.

The judges were impressed by the unusual angle of the zebra in Sally’s picture, which was actually captured at Whipsnade Zoo, and her editing skills in transforming the background and creating an impressive contrasting effect with the zebra’s patterns.

Speaking when she first found out she was a category winner, Sally said: “I am shocked and humbled. It is an immense honour ... especially with such stiff competition from across the globe.

“I’m very excited to see the image on display so close to home at Whipsnade Zoo, back in the place where I captured it!”

A Striking Pose by Sally Kilpin

A Striking Pose by Sally Kilpin

The images have been blown up onto impressive boards and will be on display throughout 2015.

The competition, run by international conservation charity, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), is now in its third year, and has six categories for adult and junior entrants, including Last Chance to See and Size Matters. The winning images were chosen by a panel of judges.

ZSL’s events manager Victoria Sage said: “The winning pictures in the 2014 ZSL Animal Photography Prize are quite simply some of the most incredible images we’ve seen yet.

“We had a huge variety of entries from around the world, and the judges, including ornithologist Bill Oddie and television presenter Kate Humble, had their work cut out to select the winning shots.”

The winning pictures in the 2014 ZSL Animal Photography Prize are quite simply some of the most incredible images we’ve seen yet

Victoria Sage, ZSL’s events manager

Those inspired to dig out their cameras can be reassured that there is still time to enter the 2015 competition. As well as the opportunity to win a share of the £10k prize fund, the competition gives photographers the chance of having their image displayed in exhibitions at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and ZSL London Zoo.

Find out more about the exhibition by visiting the website.

Cute animal alert: Check out the video above of a newborn pygmy hippo at Whipsnade Zoo

Singing In The Rain by Jason Brown

Singing In The Rain by Jason Brown

Painted Lady by Alex Berryman

Painted Lady by Alex Berryman

Grey Plover by Alex Berryman

Grey Plover by Alex Berryman

The Dance Of Love by Simone Sbaraglia

The Dance Of Love by Simone Sbaraglia

Black-tipped Reef Shark and Coral Reef by Stuart Chape

Black-tipped Reef Shark and Coral Reef by Stuart Chape

If Only They Knew by Oliver Smart

If Only They Knew by Oliver Smart

Jumping Gentoo by Tom Way

Jumping Gentoo by Tom Way

Unfriendly Necking by Graham Morrison

Unfriendly Necking by Graham Morrison

The Pink Flamingo by Lior Saad

The Pink Flamingo by Lior Saad