Deep in the forest of China’s Qinling Mountains, two golden snub-nosed monkeys surveyed their surroundings – and Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten was there to capture the moment.
Van Oosten has been awarded the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for his portrait, “The Golden Couple,” which caught the primates in their only habitat on earth.
The photograph of the majestic pair beat more than 45,000 entries and 18 other winners in various categories to claim the overall prize, awarded annually by Britain’s Natural History Museum.
“This image is in one sense traditional – a portrait. But what a striking one, and what magical animals,” said Roz Kidman Cox, the chair of the judging panel.
“It is a symbolic reminder of the beauty of nature and how impoverished we are becoming as nature is diminished. It is an artwork worthy of hanging in any gallery in the world,” she added.
The endangered monkeys, a male and a female, were watching an altercation between two males in their 50-strong group when van Oosten took the winning shot.
He had spent several days observing the creatures during the spring months.
Two owls, a hellbender salamander and a mountain gorilla were among the other subjects that helped wildlife photographers pick up prizes in a variety of categories.