Terrified marmot staring down Tibetan fox is wildlife photo of the year

It’s called The Moment.

And it is.

The image of a standoff between a Tibetan fox and a marmot in China’s Qilian Mountains has captured one of the most coveted titles in wildlife photography.

Yongqing Bao of China was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year during a ceremony this week at the Natural History Museum, London.

“Photographically, it is quite simply the perfect moment,” chair of the judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox said in a statement. “The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance.”

Since there are precious few images from this region of the world, it makes this moment of ecological interaction even more profound.

It also adds to the world’s understanding of nature in the region and how its inhabitants battle to survive, according to Natural History Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon.

“The area in which this was taken, often referred to as the ‘third pole’ because of the enormous water reserves held by its ice fields, is under threat from dramatic temperature rises like those seen in the Arctic,” Dixon explained. “At a time when precious habitats are facing increasing climate pressures, seeing these fleeting yet fascinating moments reminds us of what we need to protect.”

Bao was born and raised in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau area, and is now the Director and Chief Ecological Photographer of the Qilian Mountain Nature Conservation Association of China.

“During years of photography, I have come to realize that there is a long way to go in terms of environmental conservation,” he said in a statement.

And he takes his role to that end seriously.

“As a photographer, I believe that it is my responsibility to let people know that wild animals are indispensable friends to humans,” he added.

Photo Yongqing Bao

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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