The Finalists Of The 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Have Been Announced, And They Might Crack You Up

We’ve got a real treat in store for those of you Pandas who love animals, enjoy photography, and have a deep adoration for both quality humor and overwhelming cuteness—something to chase away all of those autumn blues and put a wide smile on your face.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists have just been announced, and the top 40 photos are as stunning as they are hilarious! Founded by photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam, the competition has been making the entire world laugh since 2015. It focuses on the lighter side of wildlife photography while also promoting conservation.

We’re featuring the best of the best of 2022’s crop below, so scroll down, upvote your fave pics, and check out Bored Panda’s interview with the team running the competition. Ready to see the best photos you’ve laid eyes on all week? Who do you think deserves to win the most? Just be sure to show the pics to anyone who you feel needs a good laugh.

And if you feel like you need an extra dose of Vitamin Happiness today, be sure to check out Bored Panda’s earlier post about this year’s competition. Meanwhile, you’ll find the awesome photos the finalists of previous competitions took here: 202120202019.

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#1 “Talk To The Fin!” By Jennifer Hadley

"Talk To The Fin!" By Jennifer Hadley

This was shot on the Falkland Islands. These two gentoo penguins were hanging out on the beach when one shook himself off and gave his mate the snub.

#2 “Hello Everyone” By Miroslav Srb

"Hello Everyone" By Miroslav Srb

I photographed raccoon on a Florida beach, where I fed him shrimps. Then he thanked me like that.

#3 “Tight Fit!” By Mark Schocken

"Tight Fit!" By Mark Schocken

I was going to see and photograph this eastern screech owl nest in a local park in Florida. One morning, a few days before the two owlets fledged, one owlet tried to squeeze into the nest hole with Mom, maybe to see the outside world for the first time. It was hilarious and I was glad I was there that morning to photograph it. The moment lasted only a few seconds as Mom didn’t seem very happy with the arrangement. Check out the expression on her face.

The winners of all the competition’s categories, and the Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year, will all be announced on December 8. And while an esteemed panel of judges will decide who stands out the most, each and every single one of our votes count as well.

We can register and vote for who we think is worth winning the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award (and there’s a chance for anyone to win a £500 prize, too). Voting closes on November 27, so be sure to have your voice heard by then.

The overall top image will win the photographer a wonderful one-week safari with Alex Walker’s Serian in the Masai Mara, Kenya. What’s more, they’ll also receive a unique handmade trophy from the Art Garage in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Bored Panda reached out to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards team to have a chat about how we should interact with the animals we photograph, and how we can help our local wildlife without even picking up a camera.

“The wildlife and surrounding habitat must remain as undisturbed as possible,” Michelle Wood told us. “The ideal [situation] is that the animal should not even know you are there. Usually, this is when they are the most natural and you might get the best shots. We should be observers only.”

You can start off by researching the species that you’re photographing. That way, you’ll know a bit about how they live. “Be mindful of light/flashes, noise, disturbing vegetation, anything that could cause stress to the animal,” she warned.

#4 “Excuse Me… Pardon Me!” By Ryan Sims

"Excuse Me... Pardon Me!" By Ryan Sims

A duckling walking/waddling across a turtle covered log at the Juanita wetlands, the duckling fell off after a few turtle crossings, it was cute.

#5 “The Wink” By Kevin Lohman

"The Wink" By Kevin Lohman

An American Red Fox casually walked up to the edge of the woods and sat down, then turned around and gave a wink. Moments later, this sly fox disappeared into the trees.

#6 “What Do You Mean Smile?! I Am Smiling!” By Alison Buttigieg

"What Do You Mean Smile?! I Am Smiling!" By Alison Buttigieg

I spent a whole morning with this lion pride. One of the lionesses made some funny facial expressions after yawning, luckily for me she looked straight into the camera for a moment and I caught this fake smile.

“The whole point of the competition is to have fun and appreciate the wildlife around us,” Michelle said that it’s all about spreading smiles and awareness about conservation.

Everyone enjoys winning, but humor is such a personal thing that you can’t second-guess the judges’ decisions. For anyone taking part in the competition, it’s important to make sure the image is in focus and that it makes you laugh. That’s it! Michelle noted that they’ll be opening the 2023 Awards next spring, so if you want to take part, Pandas, keep that in mind. You can check the website for the newest details and updates.

Meanwhile, Michelle shared how we can help our local wildlife. “As well as the little individual things we can all do, like planting a window box for the bees, a really worthwhile thing is to find out about your local wildlife charity and see how you can help,” she urged people to see what organizations are active in their local area.

“It might be that they need volunteers to help continue the work they do and a couple of hours of your time would really help, especially at this time.”

#7 “Mum Life” By Sophie Hart

"Mum Life" By Sophie Hart

A baby long-tailed macaque clings on to its weary mother.

#8 “Pegasus, The Flying Horse” By Jagdeep Rajput

"Pegasus, The Flying Horse" By Jagdeep Rajput

Actually this is Indian Saras Crane attacking a Bluebull from behind, the bull happened to venture close to Saras’s nest, where in, it had laid a single egg. The Saras Crane, which is tallest flying bird in the world, opened it’s huge wings and attacked the bull from behind, driving the bull away from the nest.

#9 “Curtain Call II” By Dave Shaffer

"Curtain Call II" By Dave Shaffer

This little guy had a blast playing with a stick . I also had a very good time watching him .

Since 2015, the contest has evolved immensely. Michelle joined Paul and Tom’s team a couple of years later and the trio has been working as a great team ever since. The scope of the contest has increased a lot, and is now a genuine, globally-renowned competition, adored by millions of people every year.

At the heart of the competition, you can find an enduring passion for wildlife and sustainability—these two things lie behind every single aspect of the contest.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are completely open to absolutely everyone. First off, the contest is free, and invites everyone, no matter their skill level, to participate. That means wildlife photography amateurs and novices, too, not just professionals.

The contest “celebrates the hilarity of our natural world and highlights what we need to do to protect it.” What’s more, the photos “transcend cultures and ages to bring a smile to everyone’s face.” And that’s the beauty of it: it’s a chance for everyone to find common ground not just with other people, but also nature and wildlife.

“This year’s final shortlist of 40 standalone photographs and 10 Portfolio entries includes a charming little raccoon waving to the camera, a pretty cool fox tipping us the wink, a squirrel superhero flying through the air and a galloping, farting zebra, really giving it some welly,” the organizers of the contest write about the finalists.

“These images have been whittled down from thousands of entries submitted from professional and amateur photographers from all around the world presenting us with a wonderful eclectic mix of hilarious wildlife.”

#10 “Fight Back” By John Chaney

"Fight Back" By John Chaney

This salmon decides to punch the bear in the face rather than be lunch.

#11 “Romantic” By Valtteri Mulkahainen

"Romantic" By Valtteri Mulkahainen

#12 “Not So Cat-Like Reflexes” By Jennifer Hadley

"Not So Cat-Like Reflexes" By Jennifer Hadley

This 3 month old cub and his sibling were in a tree. The other lionesses were in other trees and on the ground. He wanted to get down and walked all over the branches looking for the right spot and finally just went for it. It was probably his first time in a tree and his descent didn’t go so well. He was just fine though after landing on the ground. He got up and ran off with some other cubs.

Professional photographer Tom, the co-founder of the Awards, had this to say about this year: “With so much going on in the world, we could all use a bumper dose of fun and laughter and this year’s finalists have definitely delivered that! When you see these amazing photographs like the one of an elephant seal, trying to use his neighbor’s head as a pillow (and we’ve all been there) or a wallaby at sunset, seemingly about to launch another wallaby into space, it makes you smile and wonder at the incredible animals that are on this earth with us, and we love that about the competition.”

#13 “Jumping Jack” By Alex Pansier

"Jumping Jack" By Alex Pansier

A red squirrel jumps during a rainstorm, so you can see the drops flying around.

#14 “Maniacs” By Saverio Gatto

"Maniacs" By Saverio Gatto

Lappet-faced Vultures in display.

#15 “Three Headed (“Kerberos”)” By Paolo Mignosa

"Three Headed ("Kerberos")" By Paolo Mignosa

F81The three cubs seem to form a ‘Kerberos’, the three –headed dog of Greek mythology.

One of the things that makes the contest great is that it supports a sustainable conservation organization each year. In 2022, Comedy Wildlife is working together with the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN). The WFN is a UK charity that supports conservation leaders working in their home countries across the Global South. Over the past 29 years, the Fund has channeled a whopping £20 million to more than 200 conservationists in 80 countries.

#16 “I Jump Instead Of Flying” By Tímea Ambrus

"I Jump Instead Of Flying" By Tímea Ambrus

The screech-owl chose to jump instead of flying. He was a bit lazy.

#17 “What Shall I Write Next” By Torie Hilley

"What Shall I Write Next" By Torie Hilley

Most bear cubs do cub-like things. Like, follow mom around, nurse, and be generally cute. But this cub took it to another level of cuteness. She found an eagle feather and started to play with it for a good 10 minutes! As she danced and rolled with the feather, she held it in her mouth for a moment – as if she was thinking of what to write next! Cuteness overload!

#18 “Say Cheeeese” By Arturo Telle Thiemann

"Say Cheeeese" By Arturo Telle Thiemann

A couple of triggerfish looking into the camera, captured at the Azores.Even they may look funny, these fish can be quite aggressive. In this case they didn’t attempt to bite me, but the domeport of my camera housing ended up with some scratches… life is hard… at least it wasn’t me who was hurt.

This year’s judges include award-winning comedian Russell Kane, underwater film and diving aficionado Luke Inma, TV presenter Kate Humble; actor and comedian Hugh Dennis. They’ll be joined by world-renowned wildlife photographers Daisy Gilardini, Will Burrard-Lucas and Tim Laman, wildlife expert and co-founder of The Born Free Foundation Will Travers OBE, Ashley Hewson, the Managing Director of Serif, makers of Affinity Photo, Celina Dunlop, picture editor extraordinaire, as well as Bella Lack, a super young passionate conservationist.

#19 “Shark Moose” By Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven

"Shark Moose" By Jorn Vangoidtsenhoven

Is this bull moose smiling … or getting ready to attack!?

#20 “Rushing Little Owl Fledgeling” By Shuli Greenstein

"Rushing Little Owl Fledgeling" By Shuli Greenstein

I was told that I can find a lot of little owls in the Judean Lowlands in Israel. So, I went on a journey early in the morning and really, I found a lot of little owls standing on the ground, on stones, near the nest and on tree branches. Suddenly, my eyes were caught by two fledgelings that were playing with each other on the ground. One of them crossed my field of vision. I started taking pictures in sequence and this is what came out…

#21 “It’s All Kicking Off!” By Michael Eastwell

"It's All Kicking Off!" By Michael Eastwell

Apart from its beauty, Cape Hillsborough is renowned for its resident kangaroos and wallabies. I visited the area for three consecutive sunrises, but it was on my final morning that I captured this beautiful spectacle, two wallabies playing / fighting on the beach as the sun burst through the surrounding clouds.

#22 “I’m Gonna Strangle You!” By Emmanuel Do Linh San

"I'm Gonna Strangle You!" By Emmanuel Do Linh San

I was following a group of meerkats on foot in the Kalahari Trails Game Reserve, in South Africa. Most individuals, including adults, were in a playful mood. It gave me a unique opportunity to capture very interesting and dynamic interactions between some members of the group. In the photo that I have selected, there is no aggression between individuals, but rather an interaction that reminds us of humans when one of your friends jokes about you and you pretend to strangle them and, in response, they open their mouth like a simpleton.

#23 “Keep Calm And Keep Your Head” By Martin Grace

"Keep Calm And Keep Your Head" By Martin Grace

Two King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) at Volunteer Point in the Falklands. The right hand bird may have an inscrutable expression but it must be wondering where its mate’s head has gone. Perhaps it is a Rudyard Kipling scholar: ‘If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

#24 “Uncomfortable Pillow” By Andrew Peacock

"Uncomfortable Pillow" By Andrew Peacock

These elephant seal weaners were practising their jousting skills for many minutes before they collapsed in exhaustion. One looks to be resting far more comfortably than the other!

#25 “Lisper Squirrel” By Lee Zhengxing

"Lisper Squirrel" By Lee Zhengxing

We encountered this little squirrel when climbed mountain in June. When noticed our approaching, instead of escaping right away, he just kept standing on the edge of cliff and overlooked into the distance, then turned around to staring at us as if we had interrupted his meditation. We left him with some biscuits for inconvenience and I took a photo of him telling thanks, just found that he was a lisper.

#26 “Barf” By Paul Eijkemans

"Barf" By Paul Eijkemans

This picture of a Picasso Triggerfish was taken in Marsa Shagra, Egypt. The fish just vomited the coral residues that it picked up while nibbling on the coral.

#27 “Funny Walk” By Bojan Bencic

"Funny Walk" By Bojan Bencic

The swan was in the middle of a fight with another swan, chasing him around on a frozen lake.

#28 “Monkey Wellness Centre” By Federica Vinci

"Monkey Wellness Centre" By Federica Vinci

Walking near a cambodian temple where groups of wild monkeys lived, I came across this scene: a wild monkey in total relax, while its friend was taking care of it.

#29 “Misleading African Viewpoints 2” By Jean Jacques Alcalay

"Misleading African Viewpoints 2" By Jean Jacques Alcalay

Hippo yawning next to a heron standing on the back of another hippo.

#30 “Stop And Stare” By Andy Evans

"Stop And Stare" By Andy Evans

After hearing Borneo’s borders would reopen again in April 2022 I couldn’t wait to visit and photograph some of the weird and wonderful wildlife on the island. After 2 years with no tourists it seemed like the wildlife was just as shocked to see me as I was to see them. This young proboscis monkey watched in amazement as I cruised by on the kinabatangan river.