2020 was undoubtedly one of the hardest years for humankind, nevertheless, nature thrived with all its might. The past 12 months were a whirlwind of events that included horrifying wildfires, a terrible global pandemic (still ongoing), and so much social unrest; but despite the setbacks, nature gave us hope and inspiration. And through it all, photographers found a way to eloquently capture the beauty in the world. Much like a painter with a brush in his hand, photographers grabbed their cameras in 2020 and captured the best wildlife photographs from all around the world.
Most of these photographs were shortlisted in many world-famous photography competitions and some have won grand prizes as well. They not only depict the wildlife with all its beauty, but the color contrast and subjects of these pictures have epitomized the last year in a perfect manner. Here are some of the best, most brilliant, breathtaking, heartwarming, wanderlust-inducing, and undoubtedly inspiring wildlife photographs of 2020.
An in-flight blue tit from photographer Mark Harvey’s new series “In Flight” captures the graceful motion across dramatic skies.
Image: Mark Harvey
Captured through macro photography that allows seeing amazing portraits of insects, damselflies, wasps, spiders, horse flies – this detailed picture of an insect is absolutely stunning.
Image: Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz
The False Killer whale is a mystery to the cetacean world and very elusive. Found in the deep oceans around Tonga and many of the world’s oceans, False Killer whales belong to the toothed whale family and are rarely encountered by humans.
Image: Scott Portelli
The Pallas’s Cat, also known as the Manul, is a small wild cat native to the montane grasslands and shrublands of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Photographed in winters, this small, furry animal is giving some strong alpha vibes.
Image: Joshua Holko
Greg Lecoeur took this photo while exploring the Antarctica Peninsula and named it ‘Frozen mobile home’. The seals soaring gracefully around an iceberg are a delightful sight to behold.
Image: Greg Lecoeur
The photographer labeled this bird as the Salvador Dali of the avian world as its unique moustache is akin to that of the famous painter. When it comes to the length of the Peruvian Inca tern’s moustache, a longer moustache indicates a stronger immune system and therefore a more attractive proposition for courtship.
Image: Tim Flach
The photographer managed to capture a stunning shot of a great white shark 12 feet in the air. He considers 2020 the best year for him as he was able to capture many gorgeous wildlife photographs.
Image: Chris Fallows
The insect world is almost invisible to the human eye. But Bulgarian photographer Jorge Georgiev has been capturing this enchanting world through his beautiful photographs. Here is a European mantis trotting toward a plant.
Image: Georgi Georgiev
Here is a photograph of “peeping Tom” black panther, an animal that has been the central focus of Shaaz’s work over the past four years.
Image: Shaaz Jung
Serengeti is an absolutely immaculate ecosystem for nature lovers and wildlife photographers. This lion sitting in the wilds was captured in the National Park of the Serengeti, Tanzania.
Image: Mohamed Tazi
‘Faded’, Zebras in the mist is probably one of the most gorgeous black and white wildlife photographs ever captured. Lenzen photographed this group of zebras while visiting Etosha National Park in Namibia.
Image: Lenzen Anskar
This photograph of a lone tree on an icy landscape truly represents the spirit of the year 2020 – when people were quarantined and had to live away from their loved ones, alone just like this tree.
Image: Mikko Lagerstedt
According to the photographer the iguanas convey “the beauty and uniqueness of nature.” He captured the vibrant lizard sitting among flowers in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Snorkeling on the north shore of Kauai, Brandon Imbriale captured a turtle drifted through the current over the reefing, while capturing the sea life and beautiful water simultaneously.
Image: Brandon Imbriale
Gallo captured these three monkeys relaxing in a hot spring at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan. Suppose it was a much-needed break.
Image: Alan Heisen Gallo
Librodo captured this family of elephants in the Surin province of Thailand. He wanted to show how the elephants have become symbols of beauty, grace, and elegance, despite their behemoth size.
Image: Manny Librodo
The photographer was fortunate to capture a rare glimpse into the courtship of a melanin leopard and normal leopard in the jungles of Kabini, India.
Image: Mithun H
Captured in Indonesia, this picture shows two animals standing in shallow water with their antlers interlocked while the sun glows low in the sky behind them.
Image: Jordi Sark
A highland cattle standing in a misty lilac field in full bloom was photographed by Glenn Blanker in Laren, Netherlands.
Image: Glenn Blanker
This black and white photograph was taken at the Toblacher See Lake in Italy, capturing a swan taking a flight from the water. The photographer aimed to represent light breaking through the darkness with his image.
Image: Alan Gallo
This is a cross fox, which is a partially melanistic colour variant of the red fox that has a long dark stripe running down its back, intersecting another stripe to form a cross over the shoulders.
Image: Sam Gaby
Olmos took this heartwarming picture of a koala walking with its baby on its back across a road in Australia. The year 2020 brought a very difficult time for Australian wildlife as bushfires ravaged the island continent; fortunately many species were saved.
Image: Patricia Ortega Olmos
The ibex, a type of mountain goat, was the first one the photographer ever spotted in the wild. He managed to take a picture of the animal in Chamonix, France, as it sits magnificently on rocks.
This photograph of three birds in flight was captured in Bangladesh by Tamzeed Alam Token, who had been trying to approach the birds very carefully as they kept flying away quickly. Luckily, he was able to take some flying shots.
Image: Tamzeed Alam Token
The photographer captured a pair of wolves in Montreal, Canada, standing on a patch of snow in a forest.
Image: Subhash Panikar
Aiming to capture the bond and close connection between a fawn and mother deer, the photographer took the shot at Berkeley Deer Park in England.
Image: Dan Rose
In the heartwarming photograph, the two Fairy penguins appear to be comforting each other. After the loss of their partners, the two penguins started meeting regularly, comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the flickering city lights.
Image: Tobias Baumgaertner
The photo titled “Need to drink”, represents a rare look at an orangutan risking attack from predators to grab a quick drink of water.
Image: W Rahardjo
The Blue Insularis is an endangered, venomous pit viper subspecies indigenous in Indonesia. In the picture, two intertwined Blue Insularis can be seen, while one of them is snacking on a frog – making it one of the best wildlife photographs of 2020.
Image: Chin Leong Teo
The picture was captured just before the sunset when the photographer stumbled upon a herd of cows on a beach in Vietnam.
Image: Nate Pham
This Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir was photographed in the Land of the Leopard National Park, as the animal rubs its cheek against bark to leave secretions from its scent glands.
Captured in the Cisarua region of West Java, Indonesia, this heartwarming photograph shows a female proboscis monkey embracing its baby.
Image: Irawan Subingar
This wild stag was photographed in Scotland. The beautiful member of the deer family are quick and light on their feet, and inhabit a long-range from tundra to the tropical rainforest.
Image: Jon Cleave