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One hundred of the best images from the 49th edition of the competition, which is co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.

Almost 43,000 entries from 96 countries were judged by criterion that included creativity, artistry and technical complexity.

Images came from professionals and amateur photographers alike, with a panel of top industry names helping to whittle down the final selection.

South African photographer Greg du Toit was named overall winner for his image of African elephants in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana.

du Toit says he has been photographing elephants 'ever since I first picked up a camera' and that he has long wanted to create an image that 'captures their special energy and the state of consciousness that I sense when I am with them'.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Udayan Rao Pawar scooped the top prize in the youth category, his picture captured while camping near a nesting colony of gharials on the banks of the Chambal river.

In order to get the shot, Rao Pawar hid behind rocks beside the babies, watching as they climbed onto the head of the chief female of the group who was looking after all the hatchlings.

While gharials were once found in rivers all over the Indian subcontinent, today, just 200 or so breeding adults remain and continue to be threatened by illegal sand-mining and fishing.

Winners from a further 18 individual categories, such as Animals in Their Environment, Wildscapes and Creative Visions, are also included in the display.

Natural History Museum says the show 'celebrates the rich array of life on our planet while highlighting the fragility of nature'.

After its London premiere, the show will embark on a UK and international tour.

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