15 of the Wildest Photos from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards

Photo of reindeer
Behavior: Mammals – Winner: Stefano Unterthiner followed these reindeer during the rutting season. Watching the fight, he felt immersed in ‘the smell, the noise, the fatigue and the pain’. The reindeer clashed antlers until the dominant male (left) chased its rival away, securing the opportunity to breed.

Photo of cheetah
Behavior: Mammals – Highly Commended: Buddhilini (Dilini) de Soyza photographed five male cheetahs as they strained against the current of the raging Talek River in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. Cheetahs are usually strong swimmers, but the unusually turbulent water of the flooded river posed a serious threat. Dilini spent hours watching nervously from the opposite bank as the coalition, led by the lead male, searched for a suitable place to cross. ‘Suddenly, the leader jumped in,’ Dilini says, followed loyally by the other four. The strong torrents and underwater currents dragged the cheetahs almost 100 meters downstream. Eventually, and to Dilini’s relief, all five cheetahs made it safely to the other side.
Photo of newts under water
Behavior: Amphibians & Reptiles – Winner: It was João Rodrigues’ first chance in five years to dive in this lake as it only emerges in winters of exceptionally heavy rainfall, when underground rivers overflow. He had a split second to adjust his camera settings before the newts swam away.

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