This is the reigning Wildlife Photographer of the Year (PHOTOS)

Apr 10 2019, 4:49 am

We’re really working on putting wildlife on the *map* here at Mapped this National Wildlife Week. (See what we did there?)

In case you’ve missed it, here are a few other pieces that shine a light on some of the world’s most treasured species:

Since we’re all in wildlife mode, ’tis the week to have a moment of appreciation for the reigning champ of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the annual awards hosted by the Natural History Museum.

The current title is held by Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten, for his photo entitled “The Golden Couple.”

 

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Shot in China’s Qinling Mountains, the image features snub-nosed monkeys. These mountains are the only place on Earth these endangered animals can be found.

His Instagram caption announcing his achievement reads as follows:

I am both extremely proud and totally shocked that I just won the overall title Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018!

My image ‘The Golden Couple’ won First Prize in the Animal Portraits category and then suddenly also won the grand title. I did not see that one coming, which explains why I then gave the worst speech in the history of WPY.

The image features two golden snub-nosed monkeys that I photographed in south-west China.

The Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana qinlingensis) is an Old World monkey in the Colobinae subfamily. It is endemic to a small area in the temperate forests of the Qinling Mountains at elevations of 1,500-3,400 m above sea level.

These beautiful animals are listed as Endangered by the IUCN as only some 3,800 individuals still exist. Most people have never seen these creatures, and awareness is a critical first step towards the successful conservation of any species. This is why I think it is important to show these images to the world.

Their main threat, as often, is habitat-loss. For instance, lichens are the main staple of the monkey’s diet and dead trees have the greatest lichen coverage. Unfortunately, dead trees are harvested, thus reducing the quality of the habitat and availability of food. The monkey is a highly selective feeder, so damage to its habitat seriously impacts the species.

The males have large bodies covered with very long, golden guard hairs on their backs. Females are about half the size of the males, and their golden guard hairs are shorter.

The golden snub-nosed monkey is found in groups ranging in size from 5-10 individuals to bands of about 600. The males often stay solitary, remaining away from the rest of the group members as they rest, but females or juveniles sometimes join them.

Congratulations to all the other winners, especially my fellow Dutchmen Frans Lanting, Jan van der Greef, and Jasper Doest, and a big thank you to Daniella – my voice controlled mobile light stand.

And thank you to WPY, the judges (I’ll be wiring your money tomorrow), and all the people who have worked so hard to make this such a great event – you’re the best.

Marsel

The Natural History Museum website provides the following photo details:

“As the group of Qinling golden snub-nosed monkeys jumped from tree to tree, Marsel struggled to keep up, slipping and stumbling over logs. Gradually he learned to predict their behaviour, and captured this male and female resting. With the Sun filtering through the canopy, they are bathed in a magical light, their golden hair glowing against the fresh greens of the forest.

This pair belongs to a subspecies of golden snub-nosed monkey restricted to the Qinling Mountains. Among the most striking primates in the world, these monkeys are in danger of disappearing. Their numbers have steadily declined over the decades and there are now fewer than 4,000 individuals left.”

The shot was captured with a Nikon D810, Tamron 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, and Nikon SB-910 flash at 24mm, 1/320s, f8, ISO 1600, Nikon SB-910 flash.

Marsel is a professional nature photographer from the Netherlands. He and his wife, Daniella, are the founders of Squiver, a company that runs specialized wildlife and landscape photography tours for small groups of all experience levels to destinations around the world.

His incredible photography doesn’t just stop at this one winning photo. Follow his Instagram @marselvanoosten for a display of breathtaking wildlife imagery.

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

 

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A post shared by Marsel van Oosten (@marselvanoosten) on

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