Heartwarming image wins public vote

The results of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award have been revealed.

Pikin and Appolinaire. © Jo-Anne McArthur/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

An image of a gorilla and one of her rescuers has been declared winner of the 2017 People’s Choice Award, part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

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Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur took the shot of Pikin, a lowland gorilla, and Appolinaire Ndohoudou as Pikin was being moved between enclosures.

“’I’m so thankful that this image resonated with people,” says McArthur, “and I hope it might inspire us all to care a little bit more about animals. No act of compassion towards them is ever too small.”

Pikin had been captured and removed from the wild in order to be sold for bushmeat, before being rescued by Ape Action Africa.

During transfer between enclosures, she had woken up from sedation but remained calm in the arms of Ndohoudou.

“I regularly document the cruelties animals endure at our hands, but sometimes I bear witness to stories of rescue, hope and redemption. Such is the case with the story of Pikin and Appolinaire, a beautiful moment between friends,” says McArthur.

The 24 images in the People’s Choice had been shortlisted by the Natural History Museum from almost 50,000 entries submitted to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 competition.

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The winning image will be on show in the exhibition at the Natural History Museum until 28 May.