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Unpublished perspectives, breathtaking scenery, family squares of animals that usually do not lend themselves easily to the objectives of photographers. In the International Year for Biodiversity the shots of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year, now in their 46th edition, take on a special meaning, showing nature in all its complex riches. Below are the best photos of the competition organized by the Natural History Museum in London and the BBC Wildlife Magazine.

When he decided to try to portray leaf-cutting ants (Gen. Atta) the Hungarian photographer Bence Máté certainly didn't imagine they were so active. Before immortalizing them he had to follow them for hours in the rainforest of Costa Rica, where he learned to know them better: "The size of the leaves they cut is fascinating, " he explained to the press, "often the smaller ones carry larger pieces". To photograph them at night, when they are particularly laborious, he lay down on the ground and lit them from below with a flash. So he also got to know the flea larvae in that soil, which filled him with bites. But it was worth it: his shot is the absolute winner of this year.
The strangest and most curious insects in this slideshow
© Bence Máté / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010
Texts and photographic research: Elisabetta Intini
Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine

It is not often that male lions are tolerant of their puppies. When it happens however, it is good not to let them get away and fix that moment with a noteworthy shot. This was done by South African Andrew Schoeman in the Serengeti National Park, in Tanzania. An enterprising little lion joined his father behind him and stuck his claws into his skin. The male let it go for a while, running around with the little guy "hanging" behind. Then, growling, he shook it off.
Among the most appreciated in the category Behavior-mammals.
Scenes from family life in the animal world: the photogallery
© Andrew Schoeman / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

First prize in the Animals in their Environment category (animals in their habitat) for the German Jochen Schlenker. Venturing into the French Alps to photograph ibex climbing up the rocks, Schlenker took a short break to immortalize the reflection of the mountains in the Lac des Chéserys. The absence of wind and the particular layout were already an ideal setting, then came the icing on the cake: a solitary ibex that was inserted into the frame.

See also the photo gallery dedicated to reflections
© Jochen Schlenker / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

"All you see one day was yours" this Indian monkey Hanuman (Presbytis entellus) could say to his baby. Worshiped as a god because they considered the incarnation of the Hindu divinity Hanuman, these primates were instead deprived of their habitat by progressive urbanization. The French Olivier Puccia went to photograph them at a temple in the hills overlooking the city of Ramtek, in western India. At sunset he lingered on the hill to admire the landscape. This pair of monkeys, perched a little lower, was doing the same thing.
Among the most voted in the Urban Wildlife category.
© Olivier Puccia / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

Can you distinguish in all this candor the outline of a white partridge? Help yourself with the details of the eye and beak, as did the Englishman Fergus Gill, author of the shot. On constant alert but also heartened by his undoubted mimetic abilities, the bird has stood still for half an hour in the Cairngorm snow, a mountain range in the Scottish Highlands. Without ever losing sight of the very young photographer, one of the most voted in the 15-17 age category.

Look also at another white animal that cannot be whiter
© Fergus Gill / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010

When it is said to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This swan of a famous London park, the Richmond Park, has been reluctantly involved in a fight between two rival deer. The poor bird was crossing a pond when the most aggressive of the contenders threw themselves into the water to decorate the opponent, located on the opposite bank. The other deer is certainly not left to look and in the middle of the big horns the swan that was trying to get away is finished. The story had a happy ending: at least for the bird, which somehow managed to break free, leaving the two litigants to their brawl.

The most beautiful photos of wild nature (see the gallery)

You might also like: What a force this nature! Wild Europe Save those who can! Wild and breathtaking nature Here comes the Biodiversity Carnival. New perspectives, breathtaking sceneries, family squares of animals that usually do not lend themselves easily to the objectives of photographers. In the International Year for Biodiversity the shots of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year, now in their 46th edition, take on a special meaning, showing nature in all its complex riches. Below are the best photos of the competition organized by the Natural History Museum in London and the BBC Wildlife Magazine.
When he decided to try to portray leaf-cutting ants (Gen. Atta) the Hungarian photographer Bence Máté certainly didn't imagine they were so active. Before immortalizing them he had to follow them for hours in the rainforest of Costa Rica, where he learned to know them better: "The size of the leaves they cut is fascinating, " he explained to the press, "often the smaller ones carry larger pieces". To photograph them at night, when they are particularly laborious, he lay down on the ground and lit them from below with a flash. So he also got to know the flea larvae in that soil, which filled him with bites. But it was worth it: his shot is the absolute winner of this year.
The strangest and most curious insects in this slideshow
© Bence Máté / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010
Texts and photographic research: Elisabetta Intini
Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine