2 mighty lions share a tender moment in winning wildlife photo

February 13, 2019, 12:50 p.m.
two adult male lions
Photo: David Lloyd/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This stoic image of two male lions won over the hearts of people around the world and is this year's winner for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) LUMIX People's Choice Award. Professional wildlife photographer David Lloyd captured the image while the two lions were nuzzling for about 30 seconds before laying down. It's rare for lions to greet each other for that long.

"I'm so pleased that this image did well because it illustrates the emotion and feeling of animals and emphasizes that this is not limited to humans. It is something I think more people need to be aware of for the sake of all animals," Lloyd told the organization.

"Lions are individuals with complex social bonds, and David’s winning picture provides a glimpse into their inner world," said Sir Michael Dixon, director of the Natural History Museum. "A truly stunning photograph, this intimate portrait reminds us that humans aren’t the only sentient beings on this planet. I hope the empathy and wonder garnered by this image will inspire more people to become advocates for nature."

Lloyd's image received the most votes out of shortlist of 25 photographs, which were selected by a team of judges from over 45,000 submissions. In fact, we wrote about the bigger group of images, and you can see all the photographs that were in the running.

The picture, along with other WPOTY winners, will be on display at the Natural History Museum in London until June 30.