Stunning wildlife photography scoops top prize at Environmental Photography Award

Kathleen Ricker / PA2F
(Image credit: Kathleen Ricker / PA2F)

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (PA2F) has announced the winners of the inaugural Environmental Photography Award, which was launched to examine the relationship between people and the environment.

To mark its 15th anniversary, the foundation launched the Environmental Photography Award with the theme ‘Humanity and Wildlife: Crossed Destinies, Shared Territories’. An award jury made up of professional photographers and environmental campaigners judged entries in three categories: Incredible Wildlife, Wildlife in Crisis, and Reasons for Hope. 

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The overall Environmental Photography Award winner, taking the title of PA2F Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021, was Kathleen Ricker with her image ‘Gorilla by the Water’, a spectacular shot of a young male gorilla taken on a trip to Uganda which captured the imagination of the jury.

Kathleen's prize for her winning image was €6000 and a VIP trip to Monaco for the opening of the PA2F Environmental Photography Award 2021 exhibition. The exhibition is on display until 1 June and the foundation hopes it will raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection and conservation.

Lincoln MacGregor / PA2F

Incredible Wildlife winner: Lincoln MacGregor was awarded first place with his image, 'Enchanted Forest', taken in Australia. It is a photo of a wombat, wandering through a forest aglow with the light of bioluminescent mushrooms. Lincoln explains that wildlife in the region experiences this phenomenon only at certain times of the year when ghost fungi glows in the dark. (Image credit: Lincoln MacGregor / PA2F)

The competition received an incredible 5,700 entries from around the globe. The foundation said, “Reviewing the submitted images (to the inaugural Environmental Photography Award) has provided a poignant reminder of why the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation exists, and the urgent need for more progress on environmental issues.

“The choice of theme for this first edition is significant, reflecting one of the fundamental lessons to be learned when we come out of the current global crisis: that humankind’s future is closely tied to the future of the species we coexist with on Earth.”

Images from category winners and runners-up, as well as the public vote winners and other shortlisted images, will also feature in a PA2F Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021 book. The foundation plans to invite entries to next year’s competition from February 2022. The competition is open to amateur and professional photographers of all nationalities who are over 18. For more details go to the PA2F competition website.

Mitchell Lewis / PA2F

Incredible Wildlife, public vote: Mitchell Lewis's image 'Hidden from Sight' captures a large red deer stag hiding among dead ferns in Richmond Park, London, UK, as he watches over his herd. (Image credit: Mitchell Lewis / PA2F)

Maxim Sayapin / PA2F

Wildlife in Crisis winner: Maxim Sayapin’s image 'Traces of Life in the Realm of Death' shows an abandoned bird nest woven from pieces of garbage on the Mediterranean coast. Maxim says the powerful image “denounces the imprint of man on nature, undermining a life that is about to be born". (Image credit: Maxim Sayapin / PA2F)

Maxime Aliaga / PA2F

Wildlife in Crisis, public vote: Maxime Aliaga's thought-provoking photograph 'Captif' was shot in Malaysia, where young orangutans are often poached from their mothers and sold as pets on the black market. Although it is illegal to hold a wild animal in domestic captivity in Malaysia, Maxime explains that it still “is a mark of richness for some families to have a young orangutan". (Image credit: Maxime Aliaga / PA2F)

Emmanuel Rondeau / PA2F

Reasons for Hope winner: Emmanuel Rondeau's photograph, 'The Stag above the Highway', depicts a wildlife crossing in the Charente-Maritime region of France being used by a stag at night. This type of structure allows animals to travel freely and safely without being interrupted or endangered by people and vehicles. (Image credit: Emmanuel Rondeau / PA2F)

Mathieu Courdesses / PA2F

Reasons for Hope, public vote: Mathieu Courdesses' image 'Love in the Jungle' documents an intimate moment between a female orangutan and her cub in the jungles of Sumatra. In this region, the orangutan population is estimated at around 14,500, a significant increase on estimated figures. (Image credit: Mathieu Courdesses / PA2F)

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Laurence McJannet

Laurence is an NCTJ-trained journalist with nearly 20 years' editorial experience gained on a wide range of publications, from The Beirut Times in Lebanon to The Sunday Times, and including recent freelance engagements with Future's cycling and automotive portfolios, Outdoor Fitness, and The English Home. He has recently been undertaking a sports broadcast journalism MA at Southampton Solent, gaining valuable TV and radio experience, and am currently videographer for Frome Town FC soccer team. He is the author of Bikepacking (Wild Things Publishing, 2016).