The winning images in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition have been released after a record-breaking number of entries were submitted, with a riveting underwater shot taking home the top prize. Organized by the Natural History Museum in London, the 57th edition of the contest saw 50,000 entries from 95 countries vying for a prize — with shots ranging from a reindeer battle to a venomous spider hiding under a bed.
French underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta was crowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 for his photo of camouflage groupers exiting their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in a biosphere reserve in Fakarava, French Polynesia. Ballesta returned to the Fakarava lagoon five years in a row to capture the annual spawning that takes place around the July full moon. Camouflage groupers are a vulnerable species threatened by overfishing, the museum said.
📸: Laurent Ballesta/Wildlife Photographer of the Year