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Gallery: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

From bedraggled lions in the Serengeti to the relationship between humans and monkeys, this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year specially commended pictures show the range and diversity of wildlife around the world.

Co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, the prestigious competition attracted almost 43,000 entries from 96 countries.

Here is a first look at ten of the commended entries from this year.

Commended: The World in Our Hands. A dugong in the bay of Marsa Alam, Egypt. Credit: Douglas Seifert/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Dugongs are from the same family as manatees but due to hunting and now urbanisation of the coast numbers are dwindling.

This dugong is one of just seven of which are known to live along this 100km stretch of coastline.

Commended: Behaviour: Cold-Blooded Animals. A crocodile and green turtle in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica Credit: Alejandro Prieto/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

This shot taken at the Corcovado National Park, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is accessible only by boat or aircraft. Alejandro had been hoping to capture some bull shark pictures, but was surprised by a splashing further up the beach where he spotted this crocodile with a large green turtle in its mouth.

Commended: Animals in Their Environment. Lions in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Credit: Michael Nichols/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Scientists have long thought that the main reason that lions band together is to hunt, but recently it has emerged that the close bonds between males are moulded by another pressure: the actions of mutual rivals.

These two lone males had banded together to protect a shared territory.

The rain in the picture is not as unwelcome as their expressions suggest: when water is scarce, the closely bonded pair lick drops from their own and each other’s fur.

Specially commended: Behaviour: Mammals. Kamchatka brown bear in Lake Kuril in the Russian Far East. Credit: Valter Bernardeschi/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Each year between July and September, millions of sockeye salmon migrate from the Pacific back up rivers to the fresh waters of Lake Kuril, to spawn in the waters where they were born.

The annual glut attracts Kamchatka brown bears from the surrounding forests to feast on the fish and fatten up for hibernation.

The picture captures the moment the bear pounced on a female salmon swollen with roe, the force sending a string of crimson eggs spinning out of her body.

Commended: Urban Wildlife. Rhesus macaques in Varanasi in northern India. Credit: Marcos Sobral/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Varanasi in northern India is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities. Over hundreds of years, rhesus macaques have adapted to living alongside the people there.

Marcos had waited for the perfect moment to illustrate this relationship to unfold before a mother, top right, playing with her baby was mirrored by a pair of monkeys tending their own infant close by.

Commended: Animal Portraits. A frog in Warsaw, Poland. Credit: Lukasz Bozycki/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Taking this shot in a pond near his home in Warsaw Lukasz waited for the sun to dip almost below the horizon before pressing the shutter, using flash to bring out the details in the shadow. His prize was ‘the glorious pool of sunset colour’ and fiery glow of the toad’s eye.

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Commended: The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Credit: Diana Rebman/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

After an extreme hike Diana watched as a mother tended her twins in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

After a brief pause the small family were moved on by an aggressive and male and the picture was captured as the still tense mother casts on eye over the area as her six-month-old twins appear blissfully unaware of any drama.

Commended: 15-17 years. A harvest mouse Cousset, in Switzerland. Credit: Etienne Francey/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

A chance encounter during an evening walk saw Etienne capture several shots of a field mouse as it fed on a stalk of corn.

Commended: Creative Visions. Parasol mushrooms in the Grevena region of Greece. Credit: Agorastos Papatsanis/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

The taller of these two parasol mushrooms is just 30 centimetres. That is tall for a parasol, but their prominence against the tree trunks behind is a slight optical illusion, the result of a double exposure, in-camera.

Specially commended: Underwater Worlds. Toads in Solling, in western Germany. Credit: Solvin Zankl/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

Each year Solvi captures toads emerging from hibernation and migrating to their breeding ponds.

"To me the toadspawn looks like threaded black pearls," says Solvin, "neatly arranged in the scenery."

The final winning images will be announced on the 15th October.

  • You can see all the winning images at the Natural History Museum from 18th October 2013 until 23rd March 2014.