Camera-trap technology has become a powerful tool for wildlife researchers, helping them to effectively (and unobtrusively) monitor their subjects, including some of the world's most elusive and threatened species, from snow leopards to rare rabbits and even endangered amphibians. Last month, the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Camera-Trap Photo of the Year competition celebrated some of the best camera-trap snapshots out there – and the entries were pretty amazing. 

This year's competition also got a category overhaul. “We wanted to offer two separate awards: one for the most striking photograph and another for the image that had done the most to advance our understanding of a species," says BBC Wildlife editor Matt Swaine. A striking image of a black rhino taken in Zambia was selected as the winner in the photographic category, but we reckon it was the cats that really stole the show this year. Feast your eyes on six of our feline favourites, including the image of the critically endangered Iranian cheetah, which was named overall winner in the research category.

Asiatic Cheetah 2014 12 09
This image of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah (also known as the Iranian cheetah) was snapped in the Naybandan Wildlife Refuge in Iran. It was named overall winner in the research category. © Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS)/Iranian Department of Environment/Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project/Panthera. Via BBC Wildlife Magazine
African Golden Cat 2014 12 09
The little-known African golden cat inhabits the tropical reinforces of equatorial Africa and it's listed as 'Near Threatened' by the IUCN. This one was caught on camera in Gabon's Ivindo National Park. © Laila Bahaa-el-din/Panthera/WildCRU/University of KwaZulu-Natal. Via BBC Wildlife Magazine
Pampas Cat 2014 12 09
Snapped in Chile's Patagonia National Park, the pampas cat is another little-known feline on the list, despite its wide distribution across South America. © C Saucedo and M Cabrera/Conservación Patagónica . Via BBC Wildlife Magazine
Amur Leopard 2014 12 09
With as few as 45 adults remaining in the wild, the Amur leopard is probably the world's most endangered big cat. This one was caught on camera in China's Jilin Province. © Li Qi/WWF China-ABC/FRC/Wangqing FB. Via BBC Wildlife Magazine
Marbled Cat 2014 12 09
It's barely bigger than your pet cat, but its impressive canines and marbled coat bring to mind its much-larger cousin, the clouded leopard. The marbled cat, seen here in Malaysian Borneo, is also very reclusive and scientists have much to learn about the species. © Sebastian Kennerknecht/Panthera. Via BBC Wildlife Magazine
European Lynx 2014 12 09
The biggest lynx species, the European (or Eurasian) lynx suffered major population declines across Europe during the last century, though it's since made an impressive recovery in some parts of its range. This one was snapped in the Jura Mountains, Switzerland. © Laurent Geslin. Via BBC Wildlife Magazine

The BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Camera-Trap Photo of the Year competition is sponsored by Lowepro and all of the winning images are published in the December issue of the magazine.