Now in its fourth year, the California Academy of Sciences’ renowned BigPicture Photography Competition celebrates some of the world’s best photographers and the year’s most striking images. Judged by elites in the field of nature and conservation photography, the competition’s winning images highlight Earth’s biodiversity and illustrate the threats our planet faces. Each photo, in its own way, inspires viewers to protect and conserve the life around us. Here we present this year’s winning shots, as well as some of our personal favorites.

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