For many of us, 2020 has been a gruelling year fraught with unprecedented challenges. We've been tested, trialled and isolated, but there have also been moments of empowerment and enlightenment. Through the difficulties, the natural world has provided solace and comfort. So as we edge closer to wishing farewell to 2020, we've rounded up some of our favourite wildlife and nature photos from the year. 

The embrace by Sergey Gorshkov
This striking camera-trap image taken in Russia was named the overall winner in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. Image © Sergey Gorshkov/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Speed and Strategy by Yi Liu
Cheetahs can accelerate at a blistering pace, reaching 95 kilometres (60 miles) per hour in a matter of seconds. But the feline predators still have to account for the speed of their prey – in this case an impala (Aepyceros melampus), which can zig-zag at upwards of 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour. To close the gap, this cheetah tripped its quarry as it attempted to escape, proving that sometimes, strategy is just as important as speed. This image was named the winner in the Terrestrial Wildlife category in the BigPicture 2020 photo competition.
Image: Yi Liu/BigPicture
A Hare’s Dream by Peter Lindel
The top prize in this year’s GDT Nature Photographer of the Year contest went to Peter Lindel from Dortmund, Germany for his stunning shot of a European hare. The winning image formed part of a series of photos Lindel captured showcasing the beauty of Dortmund's north.
© Peter Lindel/2020 GDT Nature Photographer of the Year
Above the Crabeater Seals by Florian Ledoux
French photographer Florian Ledoux claimed the top prize in the inaugural Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition for his remarkable drone photo of crabeater seals on an ice float in Antarctica.
Image © Nature TTL/Florian Ledoux
'Stake Out' by Agora user @yensentan
Selected from a pool of 11,000 entries submitted via free-to-use photo sharing app Agora, the finalists in the 2020 Best Photos of Nature competition offered a visual reminder that "only one species living on Earth can choose what the future will look like and that species is us."
Image © @yensentan
“Devil-eyed" frog by Steffen Reichle
Previously known only from a single individual observed more than 20 years ago, the "devil-eyed" frog was recently rediscovered during a scientific foray into the rugged cloud forests of the Bolivian Andes. The research expedition uncovered an all-around treasure trove of biodiversity, including 20 previously undescribed species and a number of other organisms that had been feared lost.⁣
Image © Steffen Reichle
Close encounter by Guillermo Esteves
The worried-looking expression on this dog’s face speaks volumes and is a reminder that moose are large, unpredictable, wild animals. Esteves was photographing moose on the side of the road at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, US, when this large bull took an interest in the furry visitor – the driver of the car was unable to move before the moose made its approach. Luckily, the moose soon lost interest and went on its way.
Image © Guillermo Esteves/2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The Art of Flight by Alwin Hardenbol
This panning shot of a Dalmatian pelican in flight earned photographer and ecologist Alwin Hardenbol the overall prize in this year’s British Ecological Society photography competition.
Image © Alwin Hardenbol
Güiña by Joel Sartore
Earlier this year the güiña became the 10,000th species to be catalogued by photographer Joel Sartore for the National Geographic Photo Ark – a multiyear project with the aim of documenting every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries across the globe.
Image © Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark
Terry the Turtle flipping the bird by Mark Fitzpatrick
This shot of an unimpressed-looking turtle feels like an apt ode to 2020. The photo won Fitzpatrick the overall prize in the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
Image © Mark Fitzpatrick/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Header image: Talib Almarri/BigPicture