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Wildlife photographer of the year 2013: From blue trunks to shell suits

The winning image featured a group of elephants in Botswana

South African photographer Gred du Toit has been named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 for his image 'Essence of Elephants' – a portrait of African elephants in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana that the international panel of judges found to be “mysterious and energetic”.

Click here or on 'view gallery' to see more photos from the contenders

Mr du Toit's winning portrait has been 10 years in the making, as he has been photographing elephants for a decade in search of the perfect shot.

“My goal was to throw caution to the wind. To abandon conventional photographic practices in an attempt to capture a unique elephant portrait. This hints at the special energy I feel when I am with elephants.”

Jim Brandenburg, chair of the judging panel, added: “Greg’s image immediately catapults us to African plains. This image stood out both for its technical excellence and the unique moment it captures.”

Fourteen-year old photographer Udayan Rao Pawar was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the awards, held by the Natural History Museum.