An image of a dolphin surfing in the waves has claimed the top prize in the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
The dolphin’s eye view shot was captured off the coast of Northern Ireland by George Karbus, from County Clare, Ireland, who swam in the surf with the marine mammal to get the winning image and secure the £5,000 prize.
Mr Karbus said: “Each time the dolphin got into the wave, I dived underneath, held my breath and waited for the moment when he would swish through a silver barrel close enough to my lens.
“I was very lucky to get a shot like this.”
Striking images of a badger among trees, a fallow deer on a housing estate, a bird fighting its reflection in a car wing mirror and close-ups of woodland fungus and a tiny snail on a fern were among the winners in the competition.
The judges selected winners for 12 categories which aim to highlight the wealth of nature in the UK, including a wildlife video and a documentary series of pictures which was won with a photo essay on vaccinating badgers for TB as an alternative to culling.
Mr Karbus’s dolphin picture won the coast and marine category and also scooped the prize of overall winner.
Prizes were also awarded for two junior categories, with eight-year-old Liam Constantine, from Hull winning the award for a photograph by a youngster under 12, for his picture of a brown hare. Joseph Amess, 15, from Steyning, West Sussex, scooped the award in the 12-18-year-old category for his image of a great tit in flight.
Chris Packham, naturalist and TV presenter, said: “These stunning images by so many talented photographers highlight the diversity, breadth and beauty of our precious wildlife and the need to protect their habitats.
“Anything that raises the public’s awareness of the importance to conserve and protect British wildlife is very close to my heart.”