Photographer Who Captured the Exact Moment a Marmot Was Spooked by a Fox Wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award

Photographer Who Captured the Exact Moment a Marmot Was Spooked by a Fox Wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award

This year’s winning image from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 competition is a hilarious photo of a marmot startled by a fox. The prestigious award is given out every year by the Natural History Museum, London. This year, the comical snap of the exchange between the two animals took the grand prize and has since been described as being taken at the “perfect moment.”

The winning picture was taken by Yongqing Bao of China and is officially titled “The Moment.” A competition spokesperson described it as: “A powerful frame of both humor and horror, it captures the drama and intensity of nature.”

Roz Kidman Cox, chair of the judging panel, added:

Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment. The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance. Images from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are rare enough, but to have captured such a powerful interaction between a Tibetan fox and a marmot – two species key to the ecology of this high-grassland region – is extraordinary.

The winning photo triumphs among over 48,000 competitors, with all of the images submitted by photographers from 100 countries globally.

Some of the other entries included a hummingbird mid-flight and a macro shot of spider. See some highlights below.

By Thomas Easterbrook.

By Stefan Christmann.

By Ripan Biswas.

By Ingo Arndt.

Images used with permission of the National History Museum.

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8 Comments

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

I really love the winning photo. Awesome capture!

Rick Nash's picture

Its doubtful the marmot thought the situation was comical . ;)

Tony Tumminello's picture

"Some of the other entries included a hummingbird mid-flight"

Not to be one of those "ackchyually" people but: that's not a hummingbird, it's a moth! Some variety of hummingbird moth, also known as hawkmoths or bee moths depending on where you live.

Eric Salas's picture

It’s an amazing shot to capture for sure.

With that being said, I feel bad for the photographers that spent days/months/years planning, invested in the chance, and got their shot. This photo may have some background to it but I doubt as much as some of the others.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Winning shot is fabulous. I bet everyone has done the Marmot voice of '&^^$%#%@(*&@' to go with it.
I did it quietly, in my head. My 3 year old daughter was just looking over my shoulder.
She said 'meep meep'
She loves road runner.
I just smiled, I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a MARMOT ABOUT TO GET MUNCHED

I am not a pro photographer, but the winning photo looks like some sort of fake to my eye. It just has too much of the "Tom and Jerry" factor about it, and looks like some sort of composite with a mismatched contrast between the two animals (the marmot looks a bit more vivid). Something about the perspective looks off too, like too much of a size difference, though I admit I don't know what would actually be correct.

If I cover each animal with my hand, the fox is a kinda maybe, but the marmot looks like is reacting to something different altogether. The more I look, the more my eyes are playing tricks though. Maybe sly old fox just photoshopped himself to look cool to the vixens. Yes, I am sure that was it. :D

Lee Ramsden's picture

In one way the winning image has humour, but i read an article from the photographer and the next few images where a blood bath with the final image of the Marmots head in the fox's mouth.
Kinda takes the shine of it.

Still amazing images, always have the up most respect for wildlife photographers and film makers.
Spending months in a hide with your carrier bags and pee bottles isnt for the uncle Bobs of the world :)
awesome.

Spy Black's picture

Photo caption material...