A shot of a humpback whale's fluke breaching the surface of the water with the New York City skyline jutting out of the horizon in the distance, a colony of red ants forming a "living" bridge to navigate over a water obstacle, and an Arctic fox braving a bitter snowstorm in Iceland were among the winning images in this year's World Nature Photography Awards. Entries came in from 20 countries across six continents, with Amos Nachuom's underwater snap of a leopard seal hunting a gentoo penguin taking the top prize.

"As always , it's such a thrill to see the amazing calibre of entries into the awards. Seeing these images cannot fail to motivate one to do everything to protect this fragile planet of ours. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners," Adrian Dinsdale, co-founder of the awards said in a statement.

Here's a look at a selection of some of the incredible winning images:

First place, Behaviour – Mammals, and overall grand-prize winner
For hours, I waited for the low tide to arrive along a shallow lagoon on a remote island off the Antarctic Peninsula. Like clockwork, the leopard seal arrived in the lagoon just before low tide. It put its head in the water and looked just like a rock sitting in the receding water. The young gentoo penguins dare to enter the water only when it is shallow, and when they got close enough to the seal, it turned its head at lightning speed, catching one of the penguins by its feet and taking it to deep water. Once the seal reached open water, I followed it and swam parallel to it, observing its actions. To my surprise, it let go of the penguin twice. Each time, the seal chased after the penguin again, as if it was enjoying the game. The terrified penguin tried to escape as the game continued. But soon, the end came.
© Amos Nachoum/World Nature Photography Awards
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Third place, Behaviour – Mammals
Monstrous rains in Kenya's Masai Mara in January 2020 caused one of the major rivers to flood and become larger and more violent than ever before. This group – the world’s only recorded coalition of five male cheetahs – was looking to cross the river amid terrifyingly powerful currents. After hours of careful searching along the banks, they suddenly jumped into the water and began trying to swim across this maelstrom as we watched, terrified they would be washed away or eaten by crocodiles. Their aim was to cross over to the other side, which was part of their territory and full of game. We screamed with delight as we saw them finally cross over about 100 metres downstream from where they jumped.
© Buddhilini de Soyza/World Nature Photography Awards
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First place, Behaviour – Invertebrates
The common red ant is ingenious at traversing terrain. When the front scout ants encounter a water obstacle, they intuitively form an "ant bridge" with their bodies, so that their ant mates at the back of the party can cross.
© Teo Chin Leong/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Behaviour – Amphibians and Reptiles
This shot came out of a “nothing” outing to a local park. It was the middle of a sunny summer day with harsh light and little activity. After going out with low expectations, I came across this tiny Pacific tree frog on a flower. After waiting for it to move into a more photogenic position on the flower, and trying repeatedly to catch the mottled light through the tree’s leaves above it at exactly the right spot, I got exactly what I was hoping for. It proved to me that there’s really no bad time to head into nature with a camera!
© Shayne Kaye/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Urban Wildlife
I finally got the shot I wanted: a humpback's fluke with the downtown New York City skyline in the distance. As water-quality measures and conservation efforts have started to show real results over the past few years, humpback whales have become a more and more common sight in New York waters.
© Matthijs Noome/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Animal Portraits
Three long-tailed macaques enjoy the warmth of one another during a hot day in Bali, Indonesia. The macaques are used to humans and are commonly found around temples, where they tend to eat food sacrifices donated by temple visitors.
© Tom Vierus/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Behaviour – Birds
A wildebeest’s eyes being gorged by an African vulture, keenly watched by a jackal waiting for an opportunity to scavenge.
© Ashok Behera/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Black and White
An Arctic fox walks through a snowstorm in Iceland.
© Vince Burton/World Nature Photography Awards
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Second place, Behaviour – Invertebrates
This hawk moth emerged after sunset to sip nectar from garden flowers, always hovering in mid-air as it fed in the dim glow of the surrounding houselights. Over several weeks in summer, multitudes of these moths emerge to do the same each night. In the evening light these hawk moths can be difficult to notice; however, their audible wingbeats give away their arrival. It's exciting to see that around homes in urban gardens, certain forms of wildlife can still thrive.
© Lincoln Macgregor/World Nature Photography Awards
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Second place, Animal Portraits
This mother bear had had a long day of fishing, providing for herself and her cubs. When she sat down close to catch some rest, the two cubs continued to play. By lying down on the ground, I could capture an eye-level frame that vividly captured the expression of a watchful mother and the carefree nature of her cubs.
© Neelutpaul Barua/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Planet Earth’s landscapes and environments
Travelling down random dirt roads can be so rewarding when you are greeted with scenes like this. Taken on South Island, New Zealand.
© Sam Wilson/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Nature photojournalism
Sibolangit, SOCP Quarantine Centre, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The whole SOCP team works together to prepare Brenda, an estimated 3-month-old female orangutan (she has no teeth yet), for surgery. A sedative is administered, the arm is shaved, her temperature is taken, while others hold her head or her hand out of compassion for the baby. During the three-hour procedure, Dr. Andreas Messikommer, a renowned orthopaedic surgeon invited from Switzerland, will place a pin and screws to secure the damaged humerus. Brenda was confiscated from a villager in Blang Pidie on the west coast of Aceh who was keeping her as a pet.
© Alain Schroeder/World Nature Photography Awards
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Third place, Animal Portraits
A female puma and her cubs, seen in Patagonia, in Chile.
© Amit Eshel/World Nature Photography Awards
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Second place, Behaviour – Mammals
Two bull elephants spar with each other in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
© William Fortescue/World Nature Photography Awards
First place, Animals in their habitat
Mature male orangutans have large flappy cheek-pads, known as flanges, a throat sac used to make loud verbalisations called long calls. Once they reach maturity, they spend most of their time alone, about 90%. I was lucky enough to get this fully-grown, matured orangutan giving me the best pose possible.
© Thomas Vijayan/World Nature Photography Awards