Teeth-gritted, waves sloshing around them, these cheetahs don’t exactly look like the keenest of swimmers. The photograph was taken just after the group of males jumped into Kenya’s River Talek – and clearly regretted their decision.
The water-averse big cats are known in the area as the Tano Bora: Maasi for ‘magnificent five’. The group comprises two sets of brothers and another male, who apparently go everywhere together (even into uninviting waters).
The photographer, Buddhilini de Soyza, said it took them hours to decide to go for a dip, because they couldn’t find a way to cross the river without getting their paws wet. Eventually – and after much grimacing – the gang paddled their way across the crocodile-infested river. We don’t blame them for making a fuss at all, really.
The photo was highly commended in the ‘Behaviour: Mammals’ category at this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. More than 50,000 photographers from 95 countries entered the competition this year, tackling subjects ranging from the minutest of sea creatures to the disastrous effects of climate change.
The full list of winners will be revealed on October 12, with an exhibition of the photographs opening at London’s Natural History Museum the same week – but in the meantime, here are some ‘highly commended’ entrants.
Highly commended, Animal Portraits: ‘Storm Fox’ by Jonny Armstrong
Highly commended, Oceans: ‘The Bigger Picture’ by Audun Rikardsen
Highly commended, Underwater: ‘Deep Feelers’ by Laurent Ballesta
Highly commended, Photojournalism: ‘A Caring Hand’ by Douglas Gimesy
Highly commended, Plants and Fungi: ‘Mushroom Magic’ by Juergen Freund
Highly commended, Urban Wildlife: ‘Lynx on the Threshold’ by Sergio Marijuán
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