Image of Polar Bear Napping on Ice Wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award

Nature fans chose the winning image out of 25 finalists, which originated from 49,957 total entries sent in from 95 countries

<p>Nima Sarikhani, Wildlife Photographer of the Year</p> Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Ice Bed

Nima Sarikhani, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Ice Bed

A photograph of a polar bear's cozy nap on a piece of sea ice has been selected as the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.

Nature and photography lovers picked the image of the resting mammal, captured by British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani and titled "Ice Bed," out of 25 finalists. The photo received the most attention, with over 75,00 votes.

Before judges selected the photo as a finalist, "Ice Bed" was submitted as one of 49,957 total entries to this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The contest, produced by London's Natural History Museum, received photos from 95 countries in 2023.

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"Whilst climate change is the biggest challenge we face, I hope that this photograph also inspires hope; there is still time to fix the mess we have caused," Sarikhani said of his winning polar bear shot, per CNN.

Four other finalists received recognition from the competition: "The Happy Turtle" by Tzahi Finkelstein, "Starling Murmuration" by Daniel Dencescu, "Shared Parenting" by Mark Boyd, and "Aurora Jellies" by Audun Rikardsen. These four pieces and "Ice Bed" will be on exhibit at London's Natural History Museum through June 30.

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"Sarikhani's breathtaking and poignant image allows us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet," Natural History Museum director Dr. Douglas Gurr told the BBC.

According to the outlet, the amateur wildlife photographer captured the photo off the coast of Norway's Svalbard archipelago. Sarikhani spent three days navigating the area's cold waters before tracking down the lone polar bear lounging on the ice.

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"His thought-provoking image is a stark reminder of the integral bond between an animal and its habitat," Gurr added, noting that the image "serves as a visual representation of the detrimental impacts of climate warming and habitat loss."

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