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Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021 Winners Released—And They’re Hilarious

TIMEDecember 21, 2021

Laughter is the best medicine, they say.

Humor can build bonds between people, making us feel closer to each other. It can even help us see our counterparts in the animal kingdom with greater sympathy and compassion, which is one reason why the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (CPWA) global competition was created.

Aiming to protect all creatures, large and small, and just trying to survive in their natural ecosystems, the CWPA uses comedy to tap into “anthropomorphism” (attributing human characteristics to nonhumans), which is a well-documented powerful trigger for human empathy.

Laughter lets us see animals as valuable (and sometimes hilarious) like humans.

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“I got you” by Roland Kranitz. “I spent my days in my usual ‘gopher place,’ and yet again, these funny little animals haven’t belied their true nature.” (Courtesy of Roland Kranitz/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

The winning photographs of this year’s CWPA have reached an audience of millions of people across the planet. Here are some of the winners in several different categories for your perusal—which will hopefully tickle your funny bone as much as they did ours.

Overall Winner

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“Ouch!” by Ken Jensen. A golden silk monkey in Yunnan, China—this is actually a show of aggression. However, in the position that the monkey is in, it looks quite painful! (Courtesy of /Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air Award

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“I Guess Summer’s Over” by John Speirs. “I was taking pics of pigeons in flight when this leaf landed on bird’s face.” (Courtesy of John Speirs/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

Creatures Under the Sea Award

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“Time for School” by Chee Kee Teo. A smooth-coated otter “bit” its baby otter to bring it back to and fro for a swimming lesson. (Courtesy of Chee Kee Teo/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

Alex Walker’s Serian Creatures on the Land Award

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“Ninja Prairie Dog!” by Arthur Trevino. When this bald eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped toward the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow. It’s a real David vs Goliath story! (Courtesy of Arthur Trevino/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

Highly Recommended Winners

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“Let’s dance” by Andy Parkinson. Two Kamchatka bear cubs square up for a celebratory play fight, having successfully navigated a raging torrent (small stream!). (Courtesy of Andy Parkinson/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“See Who Jumps High” by Chu Han Lin. Let’s see who can jump high. You must lose to me. (Courtesy of Chu Han Lin/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“Majestic and Graceful Bald Eagle” by David Eppley. Bald eagles will use the same nest for years, even decades, adding new material to it at the beginning and throughout the nesting season. Normally, they’re highly skilled at snapping branches off of trees while in flight. Possibly tired from working nonstop all morning on a new nest, this particular bald eagle wasn’t showing its best form. Yes, sometimes they miss. Although this looks painful, and it might very well be, the eagle recovered with just a few sweeping wing strokes and chose to rest a bit before making another lumber run. (Courtesy of David Eppley/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“The Comedy Wildlife” by Gurumoorthy Gurumoorthy. This image of an Indian chameleon was captured in Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu. (Courtesy of Gurumoorthy Gurumoorthy/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“Treehugger” by Jakub Hodan. This proboscis monkey could be just scratching its nose on the rough bark, or it could be kissing it. Trees play a big role in the lives of monkeys. Who are we to judge? (Courtesy of Jakub Hodan/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“Chinese whispers” by Jan Piecha. The little raccoon cubs are telling secrets to each other. (Courtesy of Jan Piecha/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“Missed” by Lea Scaddan; Two western grey kangaroos were fighting, and one missed kicking its opponent in the stomach. (Courtesy of Lea Scaddan/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“How do you get that damn window open?” by Nicolas de Vaulx. This raccoon spent his time trying to get into houses out of curiosity and perhaps also to steal food. (Courtesy of Nicolas de Vaulx/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)
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“Peekaboo” by Pal Marchhart. “A young bear descending from a tree looks like he or she is playing hide and seek.” (Courtesy of Pal Marchhart/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

Amazing Internet Portfolio Award

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“The Joy of a Mud Bath” by Vicki Jauron. “An elephant expresses his joy in taking a mud bath against the dead trees on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe on a hot afternoon.” (Courtesy of Vicki Jauron/Comedy Wildlife PhotographyAwards 2021)

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Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.