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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
Shark snap is top wildlife pic
Alex Kirby

A German man, Tobias Bernhard, is this year's overall winner of the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, London.

Tobias photographed a grey reef shark, a two-metre (six-foot) female, in a South Pacific lagoon - from a distance of 30 centimetres (just over a foot).

Although these sharks can be dangerous, he says he never felt threatened - despite his subject's habit of swimming straight at him and altering course only at the last moment.

The winner of The World in Our Hands category, Pete Oxford of the UK, took a poignant shot of green iguanas in the main market of Georgetown, capital of Guyana.

The reptiles, still alive, are awaiting sale. Their fate is to be made into curry, a popular Guyanese dish.

Although the iguanas are increasingly hard to find in the wild, they are not farmed for human consumption.

Louis-Marie Preau of France won the Animal Behaviour: Birds category with a shot of great-crested grebes mating.

He spent 12 hours in a floating hide on a flood plain in the Angers region watching the grebes performing their courtship dances in order to get his winning shot.

Joel Sartore of the US was runner-up in the Wild Places category with a shot of grey wolves hunting through the snow.

Minutes after he took the photograph, the pack made its first kill of the day - a beaver.

The runner-up in the Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals category was Mark Payne-Gill, UK, who photographed a male giant bullfrog in South Africa intent on ensuring the survival of his offspring.

Bullfrog tadpoles often concentrate in shallow water where they are at risk of death as the water dries out.

This concerned father dug a 30-cm canal through thick clay mud to liberate his infants, and five hours of work were rewarded when more than a thousand of them swam to freedom.

This year, the competition received 19,000 entries from more than 60 countries.

All 115 winning and commended entries are on show at the museum from 27 October until 11 March, 2002.

Other images on show include army ants which had formed themselves into a living wall, and a chamois resting from the rut.

See also:

26 Oct 00 | Science/Nature
21 Oct 99 | Science/Nature
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