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Stunning photos of the wild

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Some of the world's most remote landscapes and endangered species star in a new exhibition at London's Natural History Museum.

Wild Planet opens today (23 March) and features 80 incredible shots from the Photographer of the Year exhibition, the world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition.

We've chosen our six favourite photos from the display, below. Enjoy!

1. Polar bears scavenging

Howie Garber/Wild Planet

The corpse of a grey whale lured in a surprising crowd. Polar bears are usually solitary, and hunt on sea-ice. But this group contained adult males, at least one female, sub-adults and cubs. Another 30 or so bears waited their turn. As a result of climate change, sea-ice has retreated record distances from the coast in recent summers. This might explain the unusual gathering, as these bears could have been stranded on land, far from their usual prey.

2. Silverback on the edge

Joe McDonald/Wild Planet

On one of his many treks to see the endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Joe found a troop before he had even started climbing the mountain. They were feeding in papaya trees, fairly close to some village huts. ‘I was struck by the symbolism of this image,’ he said, ‘illustrating not only the loss of their habitat, but also how their future depends on their relationship with the local people.’

3. Captive giant panda exploring the wild

Tom Schandy/Wild Planet

Giant pandas are endangered, with fewer than 2,500 left in the wild. Tom took this photo in Wolong Nature Reserve. The Reserve runs one of the most successful captive-breeding programmes for giant pandas, and aims to return animals to the wild to boost the population. Scientists from across the world come to learn about their pioneering breeding techniques, but the 2008 earthquake in China almost totally destroyed the Reserve. Most pandas have been moved to Bifengxia Panda Base, 150 kilometres away.

4. Leopard with rising moon

Jamie Thom/ Wild Planet

Jamie first met this two-year-old leopard when it was only three months old and still with its mother in the Mala Mala Game Reserve. ‘It usually takes a while for leopards to become accustomed to vehicles, but this one showed little fear from the outset,’ he explained. ‘It was particularly curious and adventurous, practising its stalking on adult rhinos and giraffes and giving them the fright of their lives.’ After 15 minutes of photography, the moon began to rise, providing a dramatic backdrop to the relaxed portrait.

5. Crocodile attacking wildebeest

Manoj Shah/Wild Planet

Every year, around one and a half million wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti-Mara plains of east Africa in search of fresh grass. When the herds cross water or stop to drink, they provide a rich source of food for Nile crocodiles. This crocodile has launched itself out of the water at the herd. Despite the crowds, it’s not a fool-proof manoeuvre and the crocodiles often miss.

6. Giraffe family at sunrise

Gabriela Staebler/Wild Planet

Female giraffes give birth roughly every 20 months, usually to one calf, which can stand on its wobbly legs within 20 minutes of being born. ‘I don’t know if these two youngsters in the Masai Mara were related,’ said Gabriela. ‘When they left the woodland and headed towards the open plains, I positioned myself so that they were silhouetted against the red sky. Then I waited until the calves were on either side of the female.’

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