13 stunning photos that might win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is basically "Planet Earth" meets "Survivor."

For the past 52 years, the competition has introduced us to some of the most remarkable images of the natural world. This year was no different, attracting nearly 50,000 submissions from professional and amateur photographers from around the world.

On Sept. 12, the contest managed to narrow that astounding number of entries down to a handful of finalists, releasing just some of those finalists' incredible images to the public. From the intimidating glare of a bald eagle to tender moments between a mama bear and cub, each one of these images is a truly remarkable glimpse into life on Earth.


Check out the images from 13 of the finalists below.

1. "Swim gym" by Laurent Ballesta

A female Weddell seal introduces her pup to the wonders of their underwater world. While seal pups are born on the ice, by the time they're adults, they'll outclass even the best human divers. Photo by Laurent Ballesta/Wildlife Photographer of the Year, taken off the coast of eastern Antarctica.

2. "Arctic treasure" by Sergey Gorshkov

Caught red-handed with a stolen egg, this arctic fox isn't likely to give up its life of crime anytime soon. Arctic foxes can steal up to 40 eggs a day, burying them in the icy ground for future consumption. When the long, dark winter eventually arrives, these illicit stashes will be a lifeline for this fox and its kits. Photo by Sergey Gorshkov/Wildlife Photographer of the Year, taken on Wrangel Island, Russia.

3. "The power of the matriarch" by David Lloyd

Lloyd captured the image of this female African elephant in Kenya. Likely the matriarch of her herd, Lloyd says her gaze was full of "respect and intelligence — the essence of sentience." Photo by David Lloyd/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

4. "Romance among the angels" by Andrey Narchuk

One day while diving in the Sea of Okhostk north of Japan, Narchuk found himself surrounded by courting sea angels (a type of marine mollusk that is related to snails). He managed to capture a handful of photographs before he had to surface. The next day, they had all disappeared. Photo by Andrey Narchuk/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

5. "The insiders" by Qing Lin

You might think "insiders" refers to the clownfish, but if you look closely, you can see that each carries a small crustacean known as an isopod in its mouth. These strange creatures are parasites that consume and eventually replace the fish's tongue. Chilling. Photo by Qing Lin/Wildlife Photographer of the Year, taken in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia.

6. "Sewage surfer" by Justin Hofman

Indonesia has some of the world's greatest marine biodiversity, but its waters are also plagued by plastic debris. Hofman spotted this tiny seahorse clinging to a cotton swab during a dive near Sumbawa Island. Photo by Justin Hofman/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

7. "Bold eagle" by Klaus Nigge

Nigge lay on his belly as a rain-soaked bald eagle approached him. Glowering down at the photographer, the bird presented an intimate, and intimidating, portrait. Photo by Klaus Nigge/Wildlife Photographer of the Year, taken in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

8. "Resplendent delivery" by Tyohar Kastiel

With an emerald tail streaming behind and ruby chest on display, a male quetzal returns to its nest with food for its two young chicks. Kastiel spent a week camped out in a small patch of the Costa Rican cloud forest to get this shot. Photo by Tyohar Kastiel/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

9. "Winter pause" by Mats Andersson

Winter is a time of rest for many animals, but not this red squirrel. These animals spend the entire season scraping by on fallen spruce cones. Andersson captured this squirrel's portrait during its rare and brief moment of downtime near his home in southern Sweden. Photo by Mats Andersson/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

10. "Saguaro twist" by Jack Dykinga

The Sonoran Desert can be a harsh, unrelenting environment for any living thing to grow in, but saguaro cacti find a way. With roots reaching deep underground for water, these incredible plants can live up to 200 years, their branches morphing and twisting into patterns as they age. Photo by Jack Dykinga/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

11. "Bear hug" by Ashleigh Scully

With plentiful grasses, salmon, and clams, Alaska's Lake Clark National Park is a perfect summer home for brown bear families. "I fell in love with brown bears," Scully said. "This young cub seemed to think it was big enough to wrestle mum to the sand. As always, she played along, firm, but patient." Photo by Ashleigh Scully/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

12. "Glimpse of a lynx" by Laura Albiac Vilas

Iberian lynx are some of Spain's most elusive wild animals. So when one appeared in the Sierra de Andújar National Park, Vilas couldn't help but snap a picture. "The animal's attitude surprised me. They weren't scared of people — they simply ignored us," Vilas said. "I felt so emotional to be so close to them." Photo by Laura Albiac Vilas/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

13. "Saved but caged" by Steve Winter

A 6-month-old Sumatran tiger cub snarls at the camera, revealing its wild, ferocious heart. But this cub won't be returning to the wild. It was found and rescued from an illegal snare, and its back leg had been so damaged that it had to be amputated. This cub likely will spend the rest of its life in a Javan zoo. Photo by Steve Winter/Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Through these incredible photographs, the contest showcases the diverse, wild, beautiful, and ultimately fragile world we live in.

Update: The top winners of the contest were announced Oct. 17, 2017.

Most Shared

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture