Gossiping raccoons and laughing snake among finalists for funniest animal snaps

All 42 finalists for this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced.

The awards were co-founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and Tom Sullam, with the aim of creating a competition that focused on the lighter side of wildlife photography and helped promote wildlife conservation through humour.

This year saw 7,000 images submitted from around the world, which made the process of selecting the finalists very difficult.

Paul Joynson-Hicks said: "It was an amazing turnout, especially given the impact of the pandemic.

"The huge number of images we receive every year illustrates the appetite there is to engage with conservation and reminds us that wildlife truly is incredible and hilarious and, we must do all we can to protect it."

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His fellow co-founder, Tom Sullam, added: "Whittling down the list of photographs was harder than ever this year.

"There were so many funny pictures that had us laughing that we couldn’t settle on a top 40 – so we’re releasing the top 42 instead!"

The shortlist of photographs showcases the biggest mix of animals in the competition’s history so far.

Mr Sullam continued: "It was great to see a range of animals, from the incredibly rare to the humble pigeon."

This year, the competition is donating 10% of its total net revenue to Save Wild Orangutans – a charity that safeguards wild orangutans in and around Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo.

Winners will be announced on October 22 with the top image winning an incredible one-week safari in Kenya's Masai Mara as well as a unique handmade trophy from the Art Garage in Tanzania.

The public also gets a say to vote for the snap that made them laugh the loudest, with the Affinity Photo People's Choice Award.

Tom Sullam commented: "We can’t wait to see what the public choose as their favourite."

Voting is open until October 10 and votes can be cast on the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards website.

Last year’s winner was Mark Fitzpatrick, who snapped a picture of a turtle which appeared to be giving the camera the middle finger.

He said at the time: "I was swimming with this turtle at Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef when he flipped me the bird."

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