Since 2015, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has highlighted the funniest photos taken by some of the world’s best photographers. The competition was started by Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam to create a competition that focused on the lighter, humorous side of wildlife photography while assuming an essential role in promoting wildlife conservation.
“With so much going on in the world, we could all use a bumper dose of fun and laughter and this year’s finalists have definitely delivered that! When you see these amazing photographs like the one of an elephant seal, trying to use his neighbour’s head as a pillow (and we’ve all been there) or a wallaby at sunset, seemingly about to launch another wallaby into space, it makes you smile and wonder at the incredible animals that are on this earth with us, and we love that about the competition,” Sullam said in a press release.
This year, the competition supports the U.K. charity Whitley Fund for Nature, which supports conservation leaders working in their home countries across the global south. Over the past 29 years, it has channeled £20 million ($22.4 million) to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.
This year, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has chosen 40 finalists. Here are 15 of the best.
1. “Jumping Jack” (red squirrel) by Alex Pansier, Netherlands
“A red squirrel jumps during a rainstorm, so you can see the drops flying around.”
2. “Talk to the fin!” (gentoo penguins) by Jennifer Hadley, U.S.A.
“This was shot on the Falkland Islands. These two gentoo penguins were hanging out on the beach when one shook himself off and gave his mate the snub.”
3. “The wink” (American red fox) by Kevin Lohman, U.S.A.
“An American Red Fox casually walked up to the edge of the woods and sat down, then turned around and gave a wink. Moments later, this sly fox disappeared into the trees.”
4. “Hello everyone” (Raccoon) by Miroslav Srb, Czech Republic
“I photographed a raccoon on a Florida beach, where I fed him shrimps. Then he thanked me like that.”
5. “Monkey wellness centre” (monkey) by Federica Vinci, Italy
“Walking near a cambodian temple where groups of wild monkeys lived, I came across this scene: a wild monkey in total relax, while its friend was taking care of it.”
6. “Not so cat-like reflexes” (lion cub) by Jennifer Hadley, U.S.A.
“This 3-month-old cub and his sibling were in a tree. The other lionesses were in other trees and on the ground. He wanted to get down and walked all over the branches looking for the right spot and finally just went for it. It was probably his first time in a tree and his descent didn’t go so well. He was just fine though after landing on the ground. He got up and ran off with some other cubs.”
7. “Happy feet” (emperor penguin) by Thomas Vijayan, Canada
“This chick has grown old enough to take to the seas and fish for their own food.”
8. “Maniacs” (lappet-faced vultures) by Saverio Gatto, Italy
“Lappet-faced Vultures in the display.”
9. “Excuse me… Pardon me!” (duckling, turtles) by Ryan Sims, U.S.A.
“A duckling walking/waddling across a turtle covered log at the Juanita wetlands, the duckling fell off after a few turtle crossings, it was cute.”
10. “I CU, boy!” (spotted owl) by Arshdeep Singh, Bikaner, India
“Few hundred miles away we went to explore wildlife of a small town named ‘Bikaner’. It was after almost a year I travelled because of covid. We hired a guide to explore places around. During last day of our trip we came across a pipe in a city where we spotted an owlet. I have earlier clicked owls in a pipe before so I was sure that I wasn’t mistake. We waited for a short while and it didn’t take a long time and one of the spotted owlet came out of the pipe. It was really funny when he came out and looked at me straight, before going inside he closed one of his eyes and felt like he wanted to say ‘I CU boy!’ and I immediately snapped a picture when he gave this pose.”
11. “Tight fit” (eastern screech owl) by Mark Schocken, U.S.A.
“I was going to see and photograph this eastern screech owl nest in a local park in Florida. One morning, a few days before the two owlets fledged, one owlet tried to squeeze into the nest hole with mom, maybe to see the outside world for the first time. It was hilarious and I was glad I was there that morning to photograph it. The moment lasted only a few seconds as Mom didn’t seem very happy with the arrangement. Check out the expression on her face.”
12: “Three-headed” (Kamchatka brown bears) by Paolo Mignosa, Italy
“The three cubs seem to form a ‘Kerberos’, the three-headed dog of Greek mythology.”
13: “Rushing Little owl fledgeling” (owl fledgeling) by Shuli Greenstein, Israel
“I was told that I can find a lot of little owls in the Judean Lowlands in Israel. So, I went on a journey early in the morning and really, I found a lot of little owls standing on the ground, on stones, near the nest and on tree branches. Suddenly, my eyes were caught by two fledgelings that were playing with each other on the ground. One of them crossed my field of vision. I started taking pictures in sequence and this is what came out.”
14. “Misleading African viewpoints 2” (hippopotamus and heron) by Jean Jacques Alcalay, France
“Hippo yawning next to a heron standing on the back of another hippo.”
15. “Lisper squirrel” (squirrel) by Lee Zhengxing, China
“We encountered this little squirrel when climbed mountain in June. When noticed our approaching, instead of escaping right away, he just kept standing on the edge of cliff and overlooked into the distance, then turned around to staring at us as if we had interrupted his meditation. We left him with some biscuits for inconvenience and I took a photo of him telling thanks, just found that he was a lisper.”