Many wild animals are known for their majestic beauty, or perhaps their brave ferocity. We often see photos of them in their natural habitat locked in a battle for survival, or scavenging for a meal. Though this behavior is fascinating to see, nothing elicits the same simple joy as watching them, well, horse around.
That’s the idea behind The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, a competition currently in its fourth year of delivering funny photos of animals being silly. Founded by wildlife photographers and enthusiasts Tom Sullam and Paul Joynson-Hicks, the competition isn’t all about fun and jokes. They work alongside the Born Free Foundation to highlight the importance of conserving our planet’s wildlife.
This year’s competition was flooded with thousands of entries, which Sullam and Joynson Hicks narrowed to 41 hilarious finalists. “In just three years this competition has gone from hilarious to utterly ridiculous humor—all provided by these fantastic animals,” Sullam says.
From adorably scrambling owls to penguin bullies and one very taken-aback fur seal, the finalists’ photos are the perfect respite. Click through the gallery above to see a few of our favorites.