Comedy wildlife photo awards highlight funniest-looking animals

The inaugural Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, put on by Tanzania-based conservation photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks, has brought together some of the funniest animal shots of the year ... and here they are.

Ever see a gorilla pick its nose?

The first place prize went to Austrian photographer Julian Rad for his shot of a chubby hamster, titled Rush Hour. (Julian Rad/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)

Although the jury is still out on whether animals have the capacity for humour, these photos prove they can, when captured at just the right moment, be hilarious to humans.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, organized by U.K.-born, Tanzania-based photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks, were handed out for the first time this year. Top prize went to the picture above of a wild hamster in full gallop. 

The silver and bronze finishers:

In second place is William Richardson's shot of a deer in London's Richmond Park titled, If Anyone Asks, You Haven't Seen Me! (Liam Richardson/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
And the third place runner-up is this candid moment of a mountain gorilla titled, What You Looking At? I've Almost Got It ... (Oliver Dreike/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)

And the winner gets …

A chance to take more wildlife photos. According to the contest rules, the Austrian photographer who won first place will take home "a splendid trophy for the mantelpiece" as well as a one-week trip to Tanzania, ostensibly to hang out and shoot with Joynson-Hicks. He and the other top three finishers also get a new Nikon camera and lens.

This shot of a majestic-looking primate from the genus lemur (named after the sound it makes while in distress: 'shi-fak') won fourth place. The photo is titled Dancing Sifaka. (Alison Buttigieg/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
Geronimo is the title of the fifth-place image. (Charlie Davidson/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
These cute-looking owls were highly commended in the contest. (Graham McGeorge/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)

Conservation at contest's core

The contest, which was judged by award-winning wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, (check out his Instagram) among others, comes with a conservation message — the rules even threaten a lifetime ban if a subject was traumatized while having its picture taken — and was held in partnership with the Born Free Foundation.

This seal shot is titled: It's Not Funny! I've Got a Cramp in my Flipper! (Julie Hunt/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
You don't want to stand in the way of a hippopotamus, but this photo, titled Help Mum! is all cuteness. (Marc Mol/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
Sorry, Am I in Your Way?! (Megan Lorenz/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)

Contest organizer is an MBE

Joynson-Hicks, who was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (a few steps down from knighthood) for his charity work in Africa, now lives near Dar es Salaam, where he runs photo safaris.

This one is titled The Last Tango. (Tony Dilger/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)
Titled, Did I Really Do That Last Night? (Yuzuru Masuda/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards)


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