Winners of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Show the Silly Side of Nature

Three Month Old Lion Cub Trying to Jump Up a Tree

“Not so cat-like reflexes” by Jennifer Hadley (United States). Overall Winner and Alex Walker's Serian Creatures of the Land Award.
Location: Serengeti Tanzania
“This 3-month-old cub and his sibling were in a tree. The other lionesses were in other trees and on the ground. He wanted to get down and walked all over the branches looking for the right spot and finally just went for it. It was probably his first time in a tree and his descent didn't go so well. He was just fine though after landing on the ground. He got up and ran off with some other cubs.”

The winners of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced and the images are as delightful as you might expect. American wildlife photographer Jennifer Hadley was named the overall winner for her charming look at a lion cub making a clumsy attempt to get down from a tree. For her efforts, she'll receive a once-in-a-lifetime safari in Kenya's Masai Mara.

Hadley was thrilled that her photo, which beat out 5,000 other images from 85 countries, won the contest. “I think part of what makes this contest great is that most of these photos probably happen by complete accident and that was certainly the case with the lion cub falling out of the tree,” she shares. “It was very late in the afternoon and so I had my aperture as open as possible to capture the most light possible with my shutter down lower than I would have liked but I figured with the cub walking around in the tree, I didn't really need the speed. It didn't even occur to me that he would make a go of getting down by himself in the most un-cat like fashion.”

But winning the top prize wasn't Hadley's only award. She was also named the Affinity 2 Photo People's Choice winner for her charming photo of two gentoo penguins. Taken on a beach in the Falkland Islands, Hadley's photo shows one penguin seeming to tell its friends to move along with a classic “talk to the hand” motion.

“I'm so excited and honored to be named as the overall winner and the People's Choice as well,” Hadley admits. “Honestly, when I saw all the finalists come out, I was just happy to be among them but I never expected to win. There were so many amazing and funny animal photos in the group, and I had such a laugh looking through them. I really love this photo contest because it's just so different from anything else and really shows off the personalities of the animals plus it helps raise awareness of various wildlife and funds conservation efforts so it's just really awesome to be a part of this”

In addition, five category winners were named after being selected from the incredible pool of finalists. In fact, the competition was so fierce that 10 images were also selected to be part of a Highly Commended list. Check out all of the winners below.

The winners of the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards show the silly side of nature.

Triggerfish Looking into the Camera at the Azores

“Say cheeeese” by Arthur Telle Thiemann (Spain). Winner, Creatures Under the Water Award.
Location: Faial, Azores
“A couple of triggerfish looking into the camera, captured at the Azores. Even though they may look funny, these fish can be quite aggressive. In this case, they didn't attempt to bite me, but the domeport of my camera housing ended up with some scratches… life is hard… at least it wasn't me who was hurt.”

Hippo Yawning Next to a Heron

“Misleading African Viewpoints 2” by Jean-Jacques Alcalay (France). Spectrum Photo Creatures of the Air Award.
Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa
“Hippo yawning next to a heron standing on the back of another hippo.”

Two Gentoo Penguins on a Beach at the Falkland Islands

“Talk To The Fin!” by Jennifer Hadley (United States). Affinity Photo 2 People's Choice Award.
Location: Falkland Islands
“This was shot on the Falkland Islands. These two gentoo penguins were hanging out on the beach when one shook himself off and gave his mate the snub.”

Owl "Winking" in a Drainpipe

“I CU boy!” by Arshdeep Singh (India). Winner, Junior Award.
Location: Bikaner, India
“Few hundred miles away we went to explore wildlife of a small town named ‘Bikaner’. It was after almost a year I travelled because of Covid. We hired a guide to explore places around. During last day of our trip we came across a pipe in a city where we spotted an owlet. I have earlier clicked owls in a pipe before so I was sure that I wasn’t mistake. We waited for a short while and it didn’t take a long time and one of the spotted owlet came out of the pipe. It was really funny when he came out and looked at me straight, before going inside he closed one of his eyes and felt like he wanted to say I CU boy ! and I immediately snapped a picture when he gave this pose.”

Cooper's Hawk Playing with a Pinecone

“1. Kick-off” by Jia Chen (Canada). Winner, Amazing Internet Portfolio Award.
Location: Ontario, Canada
“The juvenile cooper's hawk has a dream to become a football start. It is practicing. First kick-off.”

Cooper's Hawk Playing with a Pinecone

“3. Stare” by Jia Chen (Canada). Winner, Amazing Internet Portfolio Award.
Location: Ontario, Canada
“The juvenile cooper's hawk has a dream to become a football start. It is practicing. Stare football.”

The Highly Commended images are just as entertaining.


Indian Saras Crane attacking a Bluebull from behind

“Pegasus, the flying horse” by Jagdeep Rajput (India). Highly Commended.
Location: Keoladeo National Park, India.
“Actually this is Indian Saras Crane attacking a Bluebull from behind, the bull happened to venture close to Saras's nest, where in, it had laid a single egg. The Saras Crane, which is tallest flying bird in the world, opened its huge wings and attacked the bull from behind, driving the bull away from the nest.
Animal: Bluebull and Indian saras Crane.”

Wild Monkeys Relaxing by a Cambodian Temple

“Monkey wellness center” by Federica Vinci Fasano (Italy). Highly Commended.
Location: Cambodia, Baphuon Temple
“Walking near a Cambodian temple where groups of wild monkeys lived, I came across this scene: a wild monkey in total relax, while its friend was taking care of it.”

Red squirrel jumping during a rainstorm

“Jumping Jack” by Alex Pansier (Netherlands). Highly Commended.
Location: The Netherlands, Maashorst
“A red squirrel jumps during a rainstorm, so you can see the drops flying around.”

Funny raccoon waving hello

“Hello everyone” by Miroslav Srb. (Czech Republic). Highly Commended.
Location: Florida, USA
“I photographed raccoon on a Florida beach, where I fed him shrimps. Then he thanked me like that.”

One meerkat strangling another meerkat

“I'm gonna strangle you!” by Emmanuel Do Linh San (South Africa). Highly Commended.
Location: Kalahari Trails Game Reserve, South Africa
“I was following a group of meerkats on foot in the Kalahari Trails Game Reserve, in South Africa. Most individuals, including adults, were in a playful mood. It gave me a unique opportunity to capture very interesting and dynamic interactions between some members of the group. In the photo that I have selected, there is no aggression between individuals, but rather an interaction that reminds us of humans when one of your friends jokes about you and you pretend to strangle them and, in response, they open their mouth like a simpleton :-)”

Salmon punching a bear in the face

“Fight Back” by John Chaney (USA). Highly Commended.
Location: Alaska
“This salmon decide to punch the bear in the face rather than be lunch.”

Wallaby swinging another wallaby

“It's all kicking off!” by Michael Eastwell (UK)
Location: Cape Hillsborough, Queensland, Australia
“Apart from its beauty, Cape Hillsborough is renowned for its resident kangaroos and wallabies. I visited the area for three consecutive sunrises, but it was on my final morning that I captured this beautiful spectacle, two wallabies playing / fighting on the beach as the sun burst through the surrounding clouds.”

Two funny penguins

“Keep Calm and keep your head” by Martin Grace (UK). Highly Commended.
Location: Volunteer Point, East Falkland
“Two King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at Volunteer Point in the Falklands. The right hand bird may have an inscrutable expression but it must be wondering where its mate's head has gone. Perhaps it is a Rudyard Kipling scholar: ‘If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you …”

A duckling walking on top of a row of turtles

“Excuse Me! Pardon Me!” by Ryan Sims (USA). Highly Commended.
Location: Juanita Bay Park, Lake Washington, Kirkland, WA. USA
“A duckling walking/waddling across a turtle covered log at the Juanita wetlands, the duckling fell off after a few turtle crossings, it was cute.”

Eastern screech owls squeezed into a nest together

“Tight Fit!” by Mark Schocken (USA). Highly Commended.
Location: Largo, Florida, USA
“I was going to see and photograph this eastern screech owl nest in a local park in Florida. One morning, a few days before the two owlets fledged, one owlet tried to squeeze into the nest hole with Mom, maybe to see the outside world for the first time. It was hilarious and I was glad I was there that morning to photograph it. The moment lasted only a few seconds as Mom didn't seem very happy with the arrangement. Check out the expression on her face.”

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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