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The winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards will brighten your day

Alex Walker's Serian Creatures on the Land Award: <em>Ninja Prairie Dog!</em> in the United States.
Alex Walker's Serian Creatures on the Land Award: <em>Ninja Prairie Dog!</em> in the United States.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been unearthing hilarious and heartwarming photos of creatures basically being their best selves since 2015.

And this year is no exception. The recently announced winners and finalists of the 2021 competition include a visibly uncomfortable monkey, a trio of gossipy raccoons, a joyful bird reunion, gravity-defying fish and an all-powerful prairie dog.

A panel of judges sorts through thousands of submissions from expert and novice photographers alike and determines one winner for each of the several categories — except for the people's choice award, which is left up to members of the public. The overall winner gets a handmade trophy from a workshop in Tanzania and a weeklong Kenyan safari.

This year's top prize goes to Ken Jensen. His photo, taken in Yunnan, China, shows a golden silk monkey in a rather uncomfortable position with an appropriately startled look on its face.

The caption reads: "This is actually a show of aggression however in the position that the monkey is in it looks quite painful!"

Another crowd favorite shows a pigeon with a flyaway leaf covering its entire face, titled I guess summer's over. The shot, by John Speirs, took home the people's choice award.

Rahul Lakhmani won the sole video category with a video titled "Hugging Best Friend After Lockdown." In it, one bird perches expectantly on a branch as another dives toward it, knocking them both out of the frame. It's surely a relatable moment for many humans this year too.

The contest is more than just a delight to behold. It also aims to raise awareness about the importance of conservation.

"The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was born from the need for a wildlife photography competition that was light-hearted, unpretentious and importantly, could make a difference to animals and our natural world," reads its website. "Its founders realised that laughter was a uniquely effective tool to engage audiences of all ages and cultures with images of creatures they may never be able to see for themselves – and that the world could lose forever."

Organizers Paul Joynson-Hicks, Tom Sullam and Michelle Wood say they also donate 10% of their total net revenue to conservation organizations that protect endangered wildlife. This year, proceeds are going to the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program in Borneo.

Nature is healing, as they say. But it still has a long way to go.

Creatures Under the Sea Award

Alex Walker's Serian Creatures on the Land Award

Alex Walker's Serian Creatures on the Land Award: <em>Ninja Prairie Dog!</em> in the United States.
© Arthur Trevino / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
Alex Walker's Serian Creatures on the Land Award: <em>Ninja Prairie Dog!</em> (in the United States).

Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air Award & Affinity Photo People's Choice Award

Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air Award & Affinity Photo People's Choice Award: <em>I guess summer's over</em> in Scotland.
© John Speirs / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air Award & Affinity Photo People's Choice Award: <em>I guess summer's over</em> (in Scotland).

Amazing Internet Portfolio Award

Amazing Internet Portfolio Award: <em>The Joy of a Mud Bath</em> in Zimbabwe.
© Vicki Jauron / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
Amazing Internet Portfolio Award: <em>The Joy of a Mud Bath</em> (in Zimbabwe).

Highly Commended Winners

<em>Let's dance</em> in Far East Russia
© Andy Parkinson / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Let's dance</em> (in far east Russia).
<em>See who jumps high</em> in Taiwan.
© Chu han lin / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>See who jumps high</em> (in Taiwan).
<em>Majestic and Graceful Bald Eagle</em> in the United States.
© David Eppley / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Majestic and Graceful Bald Eagle</em> (in the United States).
<em>The Green Stylist</em> in Western Ghats
© Gurumoorthy K / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>The Green Stylist</em> (in Western Ghats, India).
<em>Treehugger</em> in Borneo.
© Jakub Hodan / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Treehugger</em> (in Borneo).
<em>Chinese whispers</em> in Germany.
© Jan Piecha / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Chinese whispers</em> (in Germany).
<em>Missed</em> in Western Australia.
© Lea Scaddan / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Missed</em> (in Western Australia).
<em>How do you get that damn window open?</em> in France.
© Nicolas de VAULX / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>How do you get that damn window open?</em> (in France).
<em>Peekaboo</em> in Romania.
© Pal Marchhart / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>Peekaboo</em> (in Romania).
<em>I got you</em> in Hungary.
© Roland Kranitz / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
<em>I got you</em> (in Hungary).

Overall Competition Winner

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Overall Competition Winner:  <em>Ouch!</em> in China.
© Ken Jensen / Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2021
Overall Winner: <em>Ouch!</em> (in China).