Sleeping polar bear and illuminated jellyfish in running for Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize

A polar bear asleep on an iceberg is one of the shortlisted images which have been put up to a public vote. Credit: Nima Sarikhani, Wildlife Photographer of the Year/PA

A polar bear sleeping on an iceberg, a jellyfish illuminated by the Northern Lights and a fox with its head in a bin are among images in the running for a prestigious wildlife photography award.

The public have been urged to vote on the 25 pictures shortlisted for the People's Choice category of the Natural History Museum's Photographer of the Year prize.

Other images show a mudskipper fish defending its territory from a crab and a confrontation between Emperor and Adelie penguins.

A mudskipper defending its territory from a crab Credit: Ofer Levy, Wildlife Photographer of the Year/PA

Also in the running is a photo of courting mountain hares touching noses in Scotland’s Monadhliath Mountains, a Celebes crested macaque drinking from a plastic bottle and a starling murmuration that looks like a giant bird.

There were nearly 50,000 entries to the competition from 95 different countries, with the 25 images selected for the public vote chosen by a Natural History Museum judging panel.

A fox checking out a full London street bin Credit: Matt Maran, Wildlife Photographer of the Year/PA

Dr Douglas Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, said: "Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s people’s choice award always offers an astounding selection of images, and this year is no different.

"We invite the public to join the jury and vote for their favourite; whether breath-taking beauty or a powerful story, it’s sure to be a difficult decision."

A Moon jellyfish swarm in the waters of a fjord outside Tromso in northern Norway illuminated by the aurora borealis Credit: Audun Rikardsen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year/PA

The public can vote for their favourite image online or at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London, until voting closes at the end of January next year.

The winning choice and four top images will be announced in February 2024 and displayed online, joining the winners of the 59th annual international competition.

Two courting mountain hares in the Monadhliath Mountains in Scotland Credit: Andy Parkinson/Wildlife Photographer of the Year/PA

The people’s choice award images are also being showcased at the exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

The overall competition was won by Laurent Ballesta for the second time with an image of a tri-spine horseshoe crab gliding along the bottom of the sea.

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