These are the best wildlife photos of 2018

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The winners of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition have been revealed, with Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten taking the top prize for his extraordinary image, titled The Golden Couple.

The image shows a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys in the temperate forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, the only habitat for these endangered primates. 

Competition judge Roz Kidman Cox said: "This image is in one sense traditional – a portrait. But what a striking one, and what magical animals. It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished. It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world."

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Skye Meaker picked up the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 award for his shot of a leopard waking from sleep in Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. Commenting on Skye's images the judges said "with precisely executed timing and composition, we get a coveted glimpse into the inner world of one of the most frequently photographed, yet rarely truly seen, animals".

We picked out some of our favorite images from this year's contest below, and you can see all the winning and commended images at the Natural History Museum website. An exhibition featuring the winning images opens on October 19 at the Natural History Museum in London, and will tour the UK and overseas next year.

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The Golden Couple © Marsel van Oosten – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Golden Couple © Marsel van Oosten – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Grand title winner 2018

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Bed of Seals © Cristobal Serrano – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Bed of Seals © Cristobal Serrano – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Animals in their environment

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Hellbent © David Herasimtschukr – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Hellbent © David Herasimtschukr – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Behaviours Amphibians and Reptile


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Mud-Rolling Mud-Dauber © Georgina Steytler – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Mud-Rolling Mud-Dauber © Georgina Steytler – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Behaviours Invertebrates

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Night Flight © Michael Patrick O’Neill – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Night Flight © Michael Patrick O’Neill – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Underwater

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Gunning for the Jaguar © Alejandro Prieto – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Gunning for the Jaguar © Alejandro Prieto – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Photo Story

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Crossing Paths © Marco Colombo – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Crossing Paths © Marco Colombo – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Winner 2018, Urban Wildlife

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The Good Life © Daniel Nelson – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Good Life © Daniel Nelson – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Grand title winner 2017, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year