Behold The Most Hilarious Wildlife Photos of 2017

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Wildlife photographer Tibor Kércz would spend a few nights each year camped out in a tent near a tree, hoping to capture photos of little owls and their nestlings. But just before nightfall on one fateful evening, three of the birds flew out onto a short branch. They landed and tried stabilizing themselves... but the owlet on the end began to fall.

“So I started to shoot in the right moment,” he told Gizmodo in a Facebook message. That series of photos won him the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The awards are meant to highlight whimsical, “possibly unpretentious” photography of wild animals doing funny things, according to their website. Some of the silliest images from past contests have gone viral, and this year’s certainly have the potential to do the same. Ultimately, the founders’ main goal is conservation.

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“Well… you are now obviously going to go to your office, home, pub, club, or wherever and talk about the dire need for us all to be conservationists in our own little way,” the competition’s founders write on their website. The contest is affiliated with the Born Free Foundation wildlife conservation charity. But Kércz likes how it gives humans the chance to see animals in a more relatable light.

“It is a great initiative and [gives us the] chance to show people how funny and lovable these cute creatures are, like we are,” he said.

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The contest received over 3,500 submissions, which were required to have been taken by the photographer, not of a pet or domesticated animal, and without being digitally manipulated. Also, term number 16 of the website’s Terms and Conditions is “16. You must think Bohemian Rhapsody one of the greatest pieces of popular music ever written, just kidding. No seriously….” So yeah.

Anyway, here are the pictures:

Overall winner: Tibor Kércz

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Winner, “In The Air” Category: Jon Threlfall

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It’s a fart joke.

Winner, “Under the Sea” Category: Troy Mayne

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Winner, “On Land” Category: Andrea Zampatti

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Highly Commended

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[via Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards]