Welcome to our first Wildlife Photography Competition

The 2021 competition is now closed and results are out!!

Enter now

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken part!! We've been blown away by your images. You made the judges job very hard!

You can see all our award winners in our Winners' Gallery or order a calendar on our dedicated Calendar Competition page. Or, to find out more about the amazing numbats that won our Discretionary Award head to our news section.

We will continue to feature our favourite entries on the competitions social media pages, so why not follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

To be the first to hear when the competition re-opens, sign up to our Newsletter.

Before entering please make sure you have read the instructions and guidelines below and have all your images and captions ready to upload  

Order your calendar18 and under entry

Competition FAQ

Who can enter?

Everyone*!! We have three sections to the competition, making sure that everyone gets a fair shot! 

There’s our main “Wildlife Warrior” competition, a “Young Warrior” competition and a publicly voted Calendar competition. Each section is further divided into categories, as described below, so there lots of chances to win an award.

The Wildlife Warrior competition and calendar competition are open to anyone who wants to enter. 

To be eligible to enter our Young Warrior competition you must be under 18 on the 1st of July 2021. 

(*Well.. almost everyone. The organisers and employees of Wildlife Vets International and their immediate family are excluded from entry. As are our judges and their immediate family.)

How do I enter?

Entry will open on July the 1st and remain open for 6 weeks, until midnight on the 11th of August (GMT). 

Revisit this site after July the 1st and click on the link that says “Enter Here”. You will need to have all the images you want to enter ready to upload and know what you want to say in all of your captions, as once you have submitted your entry you will not be able to change or amend anything.

For more information on what to include in the captions please see below.

You can request an email to notify you once the competition is open above.

What are the entry requirements for the photos?

Each image should be accompanied by a title and a caption stating where the image was taken, the species featured and a short description of one of the threats that species faces. 

All entries to our calendar competition should be taken on a smartphone, there are no restrictions on the device used for any other category. Files should be submitted in JPEG format and RGB colour space and be a minimum of 2000 pixels on the shortest side and a maximum of 10 MB in size. 

Entrants to the calendar competition should avoid widescreen or panoramic shots, as these will be harder to translate into a printed calendar. Entries submitted in this format may be excluded.

All photos must be submitted by the original photographer who either has sole copyright or written permission from any joint copywrite holders. Shortlisted entries may be asked to provide the original file to verify their ownership, so should keep this available.

Images which have previously been awarded prizes in other competitions should not be submitted. 

Images should not include watermarks, signatures or borders. Post-processing is allowed, but should be limited to basic image enhancement (i.e. cropping, adjustment of contrast, exposure and tone) and the removal of artifacts such as scratches and dust. Digital enhancements which change the composition of the picture, through the removal or addition of components, are not allowed. Images created using multiple exposures, taken in the same location at the same time, i.e. for focus stacking or panoramas may be acceptable provided the final image is an accurate representation of the original scene. 

None of the entries should be taken using harmful or unethical techniques. This includes photos where animals have been lured with live bait or recorded calls, or posed or manipulated, or stressed or harassed in any other way. Given the risk of disturbance, photos of nesting birds are not allowed. If any attractant was used this should be declared, and described, as should any other unnatural conditions. 

Entries to the “Conservation in action: stories from the field” category should focus on communicating the work being done rather than the individual or individuals undertaking the work. Any people who are featured should have given permission for the image to be submitted to the competition.

Judges have the right to disqualify, without notice, any image they feel is likely to have compromised the welfare of its subjects or fails to meet the requirements detailed above.

Can I submit images taken on a camera phone?


This competition is for everyone, not just people with fancy cameras. Camera-phone shots can be submitted to any of our categories, but our calendar competition is exclusively for pictures taken with your phone.

Just check your picture meets our size requirements, in terms of pixels. You can normally find this information under file details, file info or file properties: details.

Can I submit images of animals taken in Zoos or Aquariums?

Yes, but not to all categories.

Entries to the Wildlife Warrior competition should feature wild animals, in natural settings, unless they are being submitted to the “Conservation in action: the role of zoos and aquariums” category.

Entries to the Young Warrior competition and the calendar competition can feature both captive and wild animals. However, where captive animals have been featured this should be made clear in the caption and the appropriate collection should be credited i.e. Bengal tiger at Whipsnade Safari Park.

Why do I need to include a caption and what information should this have?

We want you to do more than just inspire us with your beautiful imagery, we want you to raise awareness for conservation as well. Captions are important because they allow us to talk about the threats our subjects are facing. 

When you upload your images, you will be asked to provide a title and a subtitle.

In the title field you should give the title of your image, the species featured and the location where it was taken. If the image was taken in a zoo or a nature reserve, then the name of the zoo or nature reserve should be given.

For images submitted to the calendar competition you should also give the month you think your image should represent. This should be given at the start of the title field so that it reads - "Month. Title. Species and location" i.e. "December. Red breast in the snow. European robin, Norfolk, UK."

The subtitle field is where you should enter your caption. We recommend keeping your captions short, two to three sentences is about right.

The first sentence should tell us something about the species, perhaps what it eats, what habitat it prefers, how big it gets or something that makes it unique.

The next couple of sentences should describe one of the threats the species is currently facing and how this is impacting the population. If the species is classed as threatened by the IUCN, you could also include it’s threat status. To check the global threat status of a species you can go to the IUCN red list.  You can also refer to local threat assessments, like the RSPBs UK Conservation Status   system.

Do not worry if your species isn’t critically endangered, that is a good thing!! Even if the animal you have photographed is doing well overall there are still likely to be some local, or low-level challenges, it is having to overcome. Do your research, look online, join a local nature group or speak to staff at zoos and nature reserves who will be more than happy to chat and help you out.

If you are entering either of our two ‘conservation in action’ categories then it would be good if the caption described the activity taking place and how this is contributing to conservation. In a zoo setting this could be something along the lines of the animal being involved in a captive breeding program or being used for education. In the field setting it could be something like placing a collar to facilitate monitoring and understanding the impact of roads, or releasing captive bred animals as part of a species recovery program.

What are the different competition categories?

The main Wildlife Warrior competition will feature the following six categories: 

Herpetofauna and fish
Conservation in action: the role of zoos and aquariums
Conservation in action: stories from the field

Entries to the two “conservation in action” categories should illustrate some form of conservation activity. Example activities include:  Research and education in zoos; Captive breeding programs; Rehabilitation and release of injured animals; Treating or monitoring animals in the field; Disease investigation; Investigation of Wildlife Crime and enforcement of protections; Habitat management; and Community engagement. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you are unsure if your image will meet the criteria feel free to email us to discuss it.  

Our Young Warrior competition is divided into the following age categories: 

8 and under
(Entrant’s age is taken as their age on the 1st of July 2021) 

Open to everyone: The Calendar Competition has a category for each month. All entries must be taken using a smartphone.

Can under 18’s enter the competition?

Yes! And we’d love it if you did. 

If you are 18 years or younger on the 1st of July 2021 you are eligible to enter our Young Warrior competition. This competition is set up slightly differently to the adult competition, with age brackets rather than subject categories. Winners will be selected from each age category and one entry will be selected as the overall under 18’s winner. 

Under 18’s can also enter our calendar competition which will be judged by a public vote

If you are under 18 and would like to enter our Wildlife Warrior (over 18) competition, you can do that … but you will have to enter as an adult and pay the adult fee. This will mean you won’t then be able to enter the under 18’s competition.

What is the Calendar Competition and how is it different from the main Wildlife Warrior competition?

Our Camera-phone Calendar Competition is open to everyone, of all ages, and will be judged by a public vote. All entries must be taken using a smartphone.

Entrants must decide which month they feel their image should be paired with, and should include this at the start of the title field, i.e. "Month. Title. Species and location" or "December. Red breast in the snow. European robin Norfolk, UK". The organisers reserve the right to reassign images to alternate months as they see fit. A shortlisted selection of images for each month will be put to the public vote and the winning entry from each month will be incorporated into a 2022 Stories of Survival calendar which will be available to order via the WVI website.

Winners who are featured in the calendar will receive a copy free of charge.

How much does it cost to enter and how many images can I submit?

The entry fee for adults is £10 and includes the submission of up to five photos. Additional images may be submitted for £2 each.

The entry fee for under 18’s is £5 and includes the submission of up to five photos. Additional images may be submitted for £1 each.

A maximum of 20 entries can be submitted by any individual.

Entrants that are under 18 years of age but wish to enter the main Wildlife Warrior competition, can do so but will need to pay the adult entry fee. If you choose to do this you will not be able to enter the Young Warrior competition.

Can I submit multiple entries to the same category?

The standard entry fee allows each entrant to submit up to five images (additional entries can be made at additional cost). These images can either be divided between several categories or all submitted to one. The same photo can be submitted to multiple categories, but this will count as multiple entries in terms of fees. Each image can only win a single award.

What is the timeline?

Entry opens on the 1st of July 2021 and will run for six weeks until midnight (GMT) on the 11th of August 2021.

Judging will take place between 12th of August and 28th of August and winners will be announced in September.

How will the competition be judged?

The Wildlife Warrior and Young Warrior competitions will be judged by a panel of experts. The selection of winners will be based on standard criteria including overall visual impact, aesthetic qualities including composition, originality, technical expertise and caption content. Any entrant attempting to influence the judges will be disqualified. All judging decisions will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Our calendar competition will be decided based on a public vote. To ensure no one gets a head start voting will only begin once the entry period has closed. A shortlist of entries will then be selected for each month and voting will be open for a period of two weeks. 

Who is on the judging panel?

We are thrilled to announce that we have a truly international panel, with a judge resident in every continent! (excluding Antarctica). 

We are very conscious that women are often under-represented in wildlife photography, and we are delighted to be able to say our panel is 50:50. 

Our judges are:

Georgina Steytler

Georgina Steytler is an Australian nature photographer with a passion for birds, ethics and conservation. Having grown up on an orchard in a small county town called Donnybrook, she developed an early love of nature. However, it wasn't until 10 years ago when she gave up her legel career and started volunteer work with BirdLife Australia, that her interest in birds and bird photography, became an obsession.  

Georgina has won numerous international awards and enjoys teaching the art and ethics of bird photography through workshops, talks and articles.  She is a regular contributor to the Australian Photography Magazine and has judged several major photographic competitions, including WildArt Photographer of the Year, Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, BirdLife Australia Photography Awards, Australasian Birdfair Photo competition, Crikey Magazine Photography Competition and the Australian Photographer of the Year.

You can find out more about her work here 

Ripan Biswas

Ripan has a MSc in Environmental Science and a wealth of experience picked up roaming through the forests of India. Speaking about his photography he describes himself as a schoolteacher by profession and a wildlife photographer by passion. His images have been widely published in various national and international magazines, including Sanctuary Asia & BBC Wildlife Magazine. Having been inspired by nature since childhood, his work now focuses on macro photography and the world of invertebrates. A field which he dominates, having won awards at “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” two years running. He hopes his images will help to spread awareness of the natural world.

 You can find out more about his work here  

Julie Larsen Maher

Julie Larsen Maher is the sixth person appointed as staff photographer for the Wildlife Conservation Society since it was founded in 1895. She is also the first woman to hold the position. Julie takes photos at WCS’s five New York-based wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo. She also journeys to remote field locations to photograph some of the world’s leading conservationists, and the culture, wildlife, and wild lands that they aim to protect in more than 60 countries. She has a BA from Iowa State University and a MS from Quinnipiac University.

You can find out more about her work here 

Jaime Culebras

Born in Cáceres, Spain, and a resident of Ecuador, Jaime Culebras is a biologist and professional photographer who dedicates his efforts to conservation and environmental education. He holds a Masters in Environmental Education and another one in Biodiversity and Conservation in Tropical Areas.  

He has been involved in the discovery of seven new species of frogs and regularly supports conservation projects and campaigns, including advocating against the illegal trade in wildlife and for the protection of amphibian and reptiles of the Choco rainforest. He also supports education work to reduce the incidence of human snakebite accidents.  

He has received awards including: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, World Press Photo, Big Picture Photo Competition, Golden Turtle, Montphoto and GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.  

You can find out more about his work here and here   

Shannon Wild 

Shannon is an Australian now based in South Africa and working wherever the wildlife calls. She is a passionate wildlife lover and conservationist. Since 2004, she has worked as a wildlife photographer and cinematographer for clients such as National Geographic, NatGeo Wild, WildAid, United Nations as well as various wildlife NGO's and non-profits.  

Shannon is most active on Instagram (@Shannon__Wild), where she posts daily and includes photo tips, camera settings and behind the scenes. You can find out more about her work here

Will Burrard-Lucas

Will is a multi-award-winning photographer known for employing innovative techniques to achieve a fresh perspective. Alongside his imagery, he is probably best-known for the innovative devices he has created that allow him to capture images of wildlife in new and surprising ways. 

This started with BeetleCam, a remote-control buggy that he created to get close-up images of potentially dangerous animals in Africa. Since then, he has developed a range of devices for remote photography all of which he has made available through his Camtraptions store. 

Now based in the UK, Will continues to travel to facilitate his projects and frequently collaborates with NGO’s to support their conservation efforts. 

You can find out more about his work and the projects he’s involved with here

Prizes! What is the prize structure and what are the prizes on offer?

Each category or age bracket will have one winner, three runner ups and five highly commended awards.

The overall Wildlife Warrior and Young Warrior winners will be selected from the respective category / age bracket winners. In the Calendar competition we will have a winner for each month, who will be featured in the calendar and an overall ‘People’s Choice’ winner.

In terms of the prizes themselves, we are pleased to be working with a number of very generous sponsors and our total prize pot is shaping up to be worth over £10,000!

The overall winner in our adult competition will receive a Nikon Z 6II + 24-70 mm lens
Category winners will receive the following
Mammals: GITZO Systematic tripod kit + 3 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan
Birds: GITZO Systematic tripod kit, Lowepro trekker 450 AW III + 3 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan
Herpetofauna and Fish: Lowepro Whistler 450 AW III + 12 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan
Invertebrates: Lowepro Pro Trekker 350 AW III + 12 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan
Conservation in action: The role of Zoos and Aquariums: Lowepro flipside 400 + 12 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan
Conservation in action: Stories from the Field: GITZO Traveler tripod kit + 12 months subscription to Adobe's Photography plan

The overall winner in our 18's and under section will recieve a one-to-one training session from Nikon School
Age bracket winners will receive a Joby Gorilla Pod and have a chance to meet one of the judges

The overall winner in our Cameraphone calendar competition will receive a signed print by Ami Vitale
Winners of each months category will be featured in our 2022 Calendar and receive a copy of "Elegy for a River" and socks by Bare Kind

Once awarded, all prizes must be accepted as offered and are not transferable. Prizes will be sent out from the UK. Any taxes or other costs associated with the entrant receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the entrant.

Who are the sponsors and supporters?

We are grateful to have had the support of several companies, organisations and individuals 

These include: Our fabulous judges (listed above)

Prize donors: Gitzo, Nikon, Adobe, Lowepro, Joby, Helinox, Ami VitalePenguin Books, Bare Kind

Technical and administrative services: PollUnit

Campaign supporters: BIAZA, Wildlife Photographic Magazine, Twycross Zoo, Digital Camera World, N Photo

We endeavour to keep these details up to date but envisage more names may be added as the project evolves.

Intellectual property, who owns the photos I enter? and how can they be used?

Photos submitted to “Stories of Survival” remain the intellectual property of entrant. Wildlife Vets international will not sell the rights to these photos or reproduce them for profit, without prior consent.

However, they may be used to promote the competition during the entry period. Winning photographs may also be used for promotional purposes after the competition has closed.

By submitting photos to the calendar competition entrants are giving consent for their image to appear in the calendar, which will be produced and sold, with all proceeds going to WVI.

Award winners may be given the option to sell prints of their images through Wildlife Vets International on a 50:50 profit sharing basis, but this will only take place following a separate agreement.

What about my data?

Submission and voting will be managed through the PollUnit platform, which is GDPR compliant.

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