A leopard bathing in the sun. Polar bear cubs playing on their parent’s lap. A pair of mice fighting for a crumb on a empty subway platform.
These are just some of the 25 images shortlisted for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People’s Choice Award — chosen from more than 48,000 entries from 100 countries — which has launched online.
Other photographs highlight how humans exploit animals, including one of an orangutan wearing boxing gloves.
Wildlife photography fans from around the world can vote for their favorite image, with the competition closing on February 4 and the winner announced later that month.
The competition is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
It is an annual competition and this year it is being run in conjunction with Panasonic UK.
In a statement, the Natural History Museum said the award is supposed to remind people about the consequences of human activity on the environment and to encourage them to look after the planet.
Tim Littlewood, executive director of science at the Natural History Museum and a competition judge, added that the photographs are intended to make viewers see the natural world differently.
Littlewood said: “Showcasing breath-taking beauty, compassion and cruelty, it is impossible not to be moved by them — I think everyone who votes has a tough decision to make.”