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What a wonderful world

Photos zoom in on wildlife, writes Claire Brine

The photographers’ challenge is to inspire curiosity

FANS of the natural world are going wild for a beady-eyed lioness drinking from a waterhole in Zambia, and a gender-changing fish from the Sado Island of Japan looking for love. An exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, which features entries from the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, opened yesterday (Friday 19 October). And the pictures on display are putting some of the most captivating creatures on the planet in the spotlight.

Ever since its beginnings in 1965, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has grown in popularity. While the first event attracted around 500 entries, this year there have been 45,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 95 countries. The photographers’ challenge is not only to inspire curiosity and evoke a sense of wonder, but also to provoke people to consider the natural world and how the human species can do better to protect it.

Ian Owens, one of the competition judges and director of science at the Natural History Museum, feels that this year the photographers are bringing their ‘passion for nature’ into sharp focus. He hopes the exhibition – which will later embark on a UK tour – will ‘raise awareness for threatened species and ecosystems’.

He makes an important point – because the reality is that nature needs a bit of help.

It’s not good enough for people to claim that they enjoy looking at pictures of wildlife if they pay little attention to caring for the real-life version of it. It’s a responsibility that the Bible says we should take seriously – because it was given to us by God.

In the Book of Genesis, it says: ‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’ (2:15 New International Version).

While the natural world around us can be beautiful and breathtaking, God wants us to do more than enjoy looking at it. He invites us to look after it with him. He wants us to love it. He trusts us with what he has made.

But how focused are we on such a task?

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