Wildlife photography contest winner features fox eating a fox

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

When Don Gutoski, an accident and emergency doctor in Canada, was wandering across the Wapusk National Park armed with his camera, he came across an unusual sight: an encounter between a red fox and an Arctic fox that had turned violent.

Gutoski waited three hours in subzero temperatures for the perfect moment between the two creatures, and the resulting photo of the red fox preying on the Arctic fox has won him the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. Gutoski's image was among the more than 42,000 entries in the Natural History Museum of London's international contest, which has been held for 51 years. His photo will star in an exhibit at the museum beginning Friday.

One of the contest's judges, Kathy Moran of National Geographic, said Gutoski's photo tells a story of climate change.

"The immediate impact of this photograph is that it appears as if the red fox is slipping out of its winter coat," she said. "What might simply be a straightforward interaction between predator and prey struck the jury as a stark example of climate change, with red foxes encroaching on Arctic fox territory."

Additionally, there were winners in each of several categories such as From the Sky and Impressions. Ondrej Pelanek, 14, of the Czech Republic won both Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the award in his age category for his photo of male ruffs showing off to each other.

The contest seeks photos that highlight the beauty and fragility of nature, the museum said. It seeks to "inspire millions of people across the world to appreciate and conserve the natural world."

All images used with permission of the Natural History Museum in London.