With his photo titled “The Golden Couple,” Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten has won Wildlife Photographer of the Year, awarded by London’s Natural History Museum. The striking photo of a pair of endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys in central China’s Qin Ling Mountains is both a traditional portrait, in one sense, and magical in another, said Roz Kidman Coz, the chair of the judging panel, in a press release. “It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished,” she says. “It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world.”
Golden snub-nosed monkeys only live in this part of China, and their numbers are decreasing primarily because of habitat loss from commercial logging and firewood collection.
Three National Geographic photographers also won awards in the competition. Thomas Peschak’s photo of a sharp-beaked finch pecking at the bloodied feathers of a much-larger Nazca booby won in the birds category. Jen Guyton, a National Geographic explorer, won the plants and fungi category with a photo of a desert plant called a welwitschia that is native to Namibia and Angola.
Frans Lanting, a longtime contributor to National Geographic magazine, was awarded the organization’s first-ever lifetime achievement award.