Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 gallery

Marvel at some of the fantastic photos competing for this year's prize

Photogenic plants, fascinating animals and dramatic landscapes are all ready for their close-ups in this annual photography competition and exhibition. A key component of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year show are the stories which accompany the photos, describing the often remarkable conditions under which each photographer captured their winning shot.

Marvel at our favourite ten photos from this year's competition. We think the winner is definitely amongst these stunning snaps but what do you think? Tell us which photo is your favourite in the comment box below.

Relaxation Treading water Lion in the spotlight Perilous pickings Spirit of the forest The duel The unexpected hunter Woodland magic A movement of trees The end of sharks

Tree-climbing is not a normal lion habit

© Joel Sartore

Lion in the spotlight by Joel Sartore

Tree-climbing is not a normal lion habit, but lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, often take to the trees in the day, probably to cool off and escape the flies. This tree held two dozing brothers. ‘It was dusk by the time the first young male woke from his nap’, says Joel. ‘I worried about camera shake, because the light levels were next to nothing. I also worried that he wouldn’t look up so that I could see his face. He did, though, for all of five seconds, listening to a female calling in the distance.’