The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is an annual competition for photographers of all ages to enter their hilarious snaps and stand a chance to win great prizes. We spoke to Paul Joynson-Hicks, one of the organizers of the competition, and asked him a few questions.

Paul, what is the purpose of the competition?
It is to raise awareness of conservation issues through a positive message of humor and fun.

Who conceptualized the idea of the competition and when?
I did, in 2015, as a wildlife photographer, it seemed like a good idea!

A bit of your background? (Just not your bank balance please)
I was born and bred in the UK, came out to East Africa as a travel photographer in 1993 and have lived and worked here since then. I am now a full-time professional wildlife photographer.

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
High commended Roie Galitz with Wildlife PhotograBear

What is the biggest challenge when judging the images?
I think it’s working out what the best photograph is and also the funniest!

Who was your all-time favorite in the senior and junior categories?
My all-time favorites…good question! I have loads of favorites for all sorts of different reasons. No one specific image.

How many entrants do you get on average per year?
Usually around 2,500.

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Under the Sea Category winner Tanya Houppermans with Smiling Blue Shark

Tell us about the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Book?
Last year we did our first book which featured over 100 of our funniest images from the first two years and now we are launching the Volume 2 version which contains the last two years’ images, including this year’s winners.

Is the judges’ panel always filled with smiles and laughs, or are there occasionally bored sighs?
Ha! Never a bored sigh for our judges, that’s for sure, only laughs and giggles.

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air category winner Shane Keena with Peek-a-boo 

Do you sometimes think of better captions than the entrants?
Most definitely!

This year’s overall prize winner with her ‘Caught In The Act’ photograph of a squirrel is Mary McGowan, a resident of Florida’s west coast, where she lives with her husband and two cats.

She has been photographing critters for just over four years, going to reserves and parks and also photographing squirrels and birds in her backyard are some of the things she enjoys.

“When I entered,” she tells us, “I greedily just thought of the prize…a safari trip to Africa! But then I learned more about the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and discovered that they strive to promote wildlife conservation and they do it with a positive and fun message through this contest. I definitely wanted to be part of that!”

The picture was taken in her backyard in 2015. The squirrel, whom she calls Sir Stanley Fancy Pantsless, was eating a nut when he suddenly outstretched his arms and coughed a couple of times. It was just a quick cough, but she somehow clicked at exactly the right second, resulting in this funny picture. He was back to eating his peanut in what seemed like a nano-second!

“Well, I knew it was a very funny picture so in the back of my mind I thought MAYBE I could win,” she explains, “but I don’t think I really believed I would win until it actually happened. I was over the moon when I learned I won! They called me at home with the wonderful news and I immediately started making plans to go to London for the Awards Ceremony.”

Here is a link to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’ website: httpss:// 

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards spreads the message of conserving nature through humor, so go support them.

| Images courtesy of The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards