Media release: 2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition

13 December 2008 - 8 March 2009

An image of a jewel-like leaf drop glistening in the far north Queensland sun has earned Australian photographer, Darran Leal, a highly commended in the prestigious 2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The image, 'Leaf drop,' is one of 83 chosen from a record 32,351 entries in the 44th annual competition which attracts the best wildlife photographs from around the world.

The exhibition - which is owned by the Natural History Museum London and BBC Wildlife Magazine - will make its Australian debut at the Australian Museum on 13 December 2008 (until 8 March 2009).

The popular exhibition features evocative animal portraits and spectacular wildlife images that stir the imagination, tug at the heart strings and engage the minds of visitors of all ages.

With images taken by professionals, amateurs and children - some as young as 10 years old - exhibition highlights include a beautiful pair of arrow crabs beneath the cobalt-blue sea; a gorgeous baby elephant seal curled up for a nap; and, a curious young macaque nicknamed "Troublemaker."

Together these vivid images combine to create a powerful exhibition that plays an increasingly crucial role in raising awareness of conservation issues and the fragility of our natural world.

To capture his image, Darran Leal picked his way through the stumps and tangled undergrowth of a rainforest devastated by Cyclone Larry in 2006.

"The image portrays to me the ability of a rainforest to re-grow, if given the chance. The challenge was to capture the moment in spite of gusts of wind and the great magnification required," said Darran.

The exhibition is FREE with general Museum entry.

After debuting at the Australian Museum, the exhibition will travel to the South Australian Museum, Newcastle Regional Library and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.

Photographers have from 19 January until late March 2009 to submit their entries for next year's competition.

Enter online at www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Mandatory Editorial Credit: The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the Natural History Museum, London and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

A contact sheet for the exhibition is available at www.australianmuseum.net.au.

Up to five images can be published free of charge provided the mandatory editorial credit appears in the copy. A fee for the use of any additional images must be negotiated with individual photographers (contact details available on request).

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