Photographers across British Columbia put their skills to the test capturing some of nature’s most intriguing wildlife across the province for the BC SPCA’s 11th annual Wildlife-In-Focus contest.
The non-profit organization announced the winners of the contest on Wednesday morning, which included two categories — photos of animals taken in backyard habitats and those taken in wilderness settings.
While 640 photos were submitted to judges during the contest, only six candidates made it out on top.
In the backyard habitat category, Oliver resident Curtis Zutz’s picture of a cedar waxwing eating a bright red berry got him first place. Patricia Irvine from Duncan was runner-up with her photo of a raccoon and Jordan Blackstone from Qualicum Beach took bronze with a picture of a hummingbird gazing at flora and fauna while in flight.
In the wilderness settings category, Prince George resident Elle Ambrosi’s picture of a coyote galloping in freshly fallen snow took the top spot.
Coquitlam resident Maja Lakhani finished second with a photo of two bears snatching berries from a tree and Arsalan Butt from Surrey rounded out the top three after snapping a short-eared owl staring gallantly at its prey during a snowfall.
In other mentions, 150 Mile House resident Michelle Obre’s photo of a lynx won the people’s choice award after receiving the most public votes in the bonus category.
BC SPCA chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois said both the contest and fundraiser this year were a success.
“With more than 640 photos submitted, it was a challenge for the contest judges to highlight only a few of the many amazing photos celebrating B.C.’s diverse wildlife,” said Dubois.
“We want to thank all the participants for sharing their amazing photos and helping to raise over $16,800 for wild animals in need.”
Erin Ryan, research communications analyst for BC SPCA, said the annual event benefits multiple parties.
“This contest is great because it allows us to use these photos in our education initiatives and it also helps us to raise funds for our BC SPA rehabilitation centre on Vancouver Island.”
First-place winners will now be featured in the Spring 2019 AnimalSense magazine and other medalists will receive gifts from Canadian Geographic, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and other suppliers.
Next year’s contest will open on July 1.