Orang-utan cuddle snaps up top prize for Briton

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The Independent Online

A baby orang-utan peering at the camera while its mother gazes into the distance, and a flock of birds feasting on tree berries, are among the winning images in the world's biggest annual wildlife photography competition.

A baby orang-utan peering at the camera while its mother gazes into the distance, and a flock of birds feasting on tree berries, are among the winning images in the world's biggest annual wildlife photography competition.

Almost one-third of the 1,810 entries were from British photographers, and eight of them won top awards in the 21 categories. They include Manoj Shah, whose picture of the orang-utans won him the title of BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2000.

The wildlife photographer Simon King, one of the judges, said of Mr Shah's picture: "This image is hugely accessible and appealing, and has tremendous pathos."

The winners were due to receive their prizes at a dinner at the Natural History Museum in London last night, where the 120 winning and commended pictures will be on display from tomorrow until February.

The prize for composition and form went to Jim Petek of the United States for his picture of the feeding Bohemian waxwings. The photograph was taken in Montana near Yellowstone National Park. The birds stay in the area until they have eaten all the berries before moving to wintering sites elsewhere in Montana, southern California, northern Arizona and New Mexico.

Kobe van Looveren, of Belgium, said he was lucky to catch his picture of a frog inches from a dragonfly drying its wings above a pond. "I decided to photograph the dragonfly, but the overall composition was spoiled by a leaf. I carefully removed the leaf just as a frog leapt towards it, thinking it was a tasty meal. The frog seems oblivious to the genuine dragonfly prey directly above it. With one exposure left I was lucky to capture this scene."

The picture of ibex, by Fabian Fischer of Germany, was a runner-up in the category for photographers aged 15 to 17.

The competition was organised by BBC Wildlife magazine and the Natural History Museum, London.

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