Balena che salta dall'acqua & aquila che combatte la volpe nella rosa dei candidati per il premio fotografico

THESE stunning snaps capturing the breathtaking beauty of our planet’s wildlife are among the pictures that have wowed photography competition judges.

One remarkable photo shows a huge humpback whale leaping from the water just inches from a boat in California.

A humpback whale leaping out the ocean in Monterey Bay, California

A humpback whale leaping out the ocean in Monterey Bay, CaliforniaCredito: Douglas Croft/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
A fox taking on an eagle in an unlikely battle on the Japanese island of  Hokkaido

A fox taking on an eagle in an unlikely battle on the Japanese island of HokkaidoCredito: Fahad Alenezi/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
A stunning sea anemone in California looks 'like the eye of a lizard'

A stunning sea anemone in California looks ‘like the eye of a lizardCredito: Lisa Luckenbach/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
An orangutan looking up at the camera as he climbs up a tree in Borneo, Indonesia

An orangutan looking up at the camera as he climbs up a tree in Borneo, IndonesiaCredito: Thomas Vijayan/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
One lucky photographer caught this stunning snowy owl cruising through Missaukee County, Michigan on camera

One lucky photographer caught this stunning snowy owl cruising through Missaukee County, Michigan on cameraCredito: John Fortener/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG

non sorprende, the glorious pic bagged first place in one category of National Wildlife Magazine’s photo contest after being captured by Douglas Croft in California’s Monterey Bay.

Another sensational snap shows an eagle in battle with a fox on the frozen shores of Japanese island Hokkaido, with the four-legged creature appearing to try and grab a bite as the formidable bird spreads its powerful wings.

Fahad Aleneziwho witnessed the unlikely fightsaid as the brazen fox moved in, the eagletook exception to the incursion and gave the fox what looks like a good slap with its wings”.

And while beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder, there is no denying the alluring look of a sea anemone glistening beneath the Californian sea with its green and blue colours.

According to its photographer Lisa Luckenbach, sea anemoneflanked by a colourful crust of pebbles – sembra “like the eye of a lizard”.

Other striking snaps show a baby elephant walking among a herd of adults in Kenya, an eye-catching snowy owl in flight in Michigan and an orangutan appearing to grin as he clips up a tree in Indonesia.

The National Wildlife Federation, which runs the contest, received more than 40,400 entries this yearmaking it hard for judges to pick standouts.

Its website says: “The National Wildlife Photo Contest, which began five decades ago, celebrates the power of photography to advance conservation and connect both photographers and viewers with wildlife and the outdoors.

Compelling nature images can help protect wildlife in profound ways.

A baby elephant walking among a herd of adults just after sunrise in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve

A baby elephant walking among a herd of adults just after sunrise in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National ReserveCredito: Manoj Shah/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
A photographer spotted this gopher snake hiding in the Arizona desert

A photographer spotted this gopher snake hiding in the Arizona desertCredito: Addie Leimroth/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
A young golden snub-nosed monkey slinging to its mum in China's Qinling Mountains

A young golden snub-nosed monkey slinging to its mum in China’s Qinling MountainsCredito: Qiang Zhang/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
Two bighorn rams push against each other as snow falls down in Canada

Two bighorn rams push against each other as snow falls down in CanadaCredito: James Anderson/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG
A bee nestling in the centre of a flower in a public garden in Massachusetts

A bee nestling in the centre of a flower in a public garden in MassachusettsCredito: Nancy Szostak Wright/2021 National Wildlife Photo Contest/TNG