And the winners of this year’s cutest wildlife photos are. . .
So you might have heard: the winners of the 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards were just announced. The prestigious awards honor the year’s best in nature photography in a variety of categories —from “plants and fungi” to “underwater species.” What they’re missing, category-wise, is “cuteness.” And that’s where we come in. We took a gander at the many winners and finalists of this year’s awards and selected the overall most adorable photos of the batch. Spoiler: The plants and fungi photos, though gorgeous, did not make the cut. What did make the cut are these incredible images of wild animals just being painfully awesome.
This Japanese macaque is totally listening to you, he’s just checking his Facebook page real quick. Actually, the story goes that he snatched the phone from a tourist’s hands, and a quick-thinking photographer/tour guide named Marcel Van Oosten captured the moment on his camera, because he is a genius. Oosten won WPY’s People’s Choice award for this picture and the macaque won our undying love—not only for sharing our addiction to technology, but for giving us the finger in the process.
Somebody’s sleepy (or possibly stalking prey, but we prefer to think he’s sleepy.) Leon Peulinos of Greece (who is 10 years old or younger, mind you) snapped this image of a cheetah who just ate an impala and was experiencing mild food coma as a result. Note: Cheetahs are super-cute from far away.
These are baby owls, or owlets. We kid you not, that’s what baby owls are called. Oh lord, they’re cute. We have child photographer, Sitara Karthikeyan of India, to thank for this image that’s basically killing us.
Alexander Badyaev won in the category of “Mammals” for this incredible image of a mouse in Montana who totally makes us want to re-watch An American Tail.
Not only is this picture of a lion, looking all sweet and wise, incredibly tender, it was also taken by a kid under 14. Beat that, everyone on Earth.
Simone Sbaraglia’s photo of a congregation of geladas makes us want to plant ourselves right in the middle of the group huddle and never come out.
Bruno D’Amicis earned a WPY nod for this image of an endangered Tunisian fox, also known as our dream pet. Seriously, cats who?