Napping Polar Bear Triumphs in Wildlife Photo Competition

The image of a young polar bear napping on a chunk of sea ice has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award. The beautiful image from Nima Sarikhani beat out 49,957 other entries from 95 different countries.

Sarikhani captured the image during a three-day trip off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. After searching for polar bears in thick fog, the expedition vessel headed toward some sea ice. Here, they spotted two polar bears. One of them pulled itself onto the little piece of sea ice and carved out the perfect sleeping  with its claws. As the young bear dozed, Sarikahani took her photo.

The Happy Turtle. Photo: Tzahi Finkelstein/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


The photo comes at a time when the future of polar bears is in question. The iconic white bears are now listed as “vulnerable.” There are only 22,000 left on the planet, and their sea-ice habitat is ever shrinking.

Aurora Jellies. Photo: Audun Rikardsen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


The Natural History Museum in London run the annual competition. A panel of judges whittled the entries down to just 25 photos. Then the public voted on these. This year, a record 75,000 wildlife fans cast their votes.

Four other images were “Highly Commended” by voters. “The Happy Turtle” by Tzahi Finkelstein shows the moment a northern banded groundling dragonfly balances on the head of a Balkan pond turtle. Audun Rikardsen captured two moon jellyfish lit by the northern nights. The final two images showed a lion cub being groomed by two lionesses and a flock of starlings magically coalescing into the shape of a bird.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.