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Image by Geran de Klerk




Free The Wild has now concluded its first international Urban Nature & Wildlife photography competition, open to all amateur and professional photographers!


A huge congratulations to our competition winners, Saket Sarupria, Steve Moor, Dilshan Muthalib and Jack Allerton (U15s)! Your photographs are truly breathtaking and work that all of you should feel very proud of.

There was a great deal of deliberation in deciding which shots were ultimately the best and most suitable to the Competition's theme, Urban Wildlife & Nature, but the five judges were eventually unanimous in their decision to place the following photographs as follows:





Saket Sarupria

Smooth Coated Otters having dinner with a flaming sunset across Singapore Marina Bay Skyline


Canon 7D II



1st Place - Overall Winner

Female urban fox “mum”

Female urban fox “mum”


Steve Moore

“Mum” walking down the street checking out her hot spots for food.


Canon 90d



2nd Place

owl in the snow

owl in the snow


Dilshan Muthalib

This short eared owl had over wintered in park in London next to busy residentail area entertaining locals


canon r6


waltham abbey, London, united kingdom

3rd Place


We'd like to say a big thank you to everyone that took part in the Urban Wildlife & Nature Photography Competition - whether you made it through to the Finals, the shortlist or even just the submissions page, the competition couldn't have happened without you.

Some of you took some inspirational photographs that didn't make it into the higher tiers of the competition, but that isn't a reflection on the quality of your photographs! We were looking for images that captured a moment or portrayed a strong sense of wildlife interacting with , living in or being a part of an urban environment.

So please, do join us again in the very near future as we come to host more photographic and video-graphic competitions!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn so that you're always kept in the loop.

Thank you from Free The Wild!

Winners: Please check your emails for confirmation and prize giving.



Jamie MacArthur Bio pic 2.jpeg


Professional Wildlife Photographer

I had the honour and privilege of being asked to help judge the 15 finalists of the 'Free and wild Urban Wildlife and Nature Competition.'


Despite there there being some excellent and interesting submissions, my third choice was the Short eared owl flying through the falling snow as it fell amongst, what I’m told is, the gentle backdrop of Waltham Abbey residential area. The author did well to maintain the focus as the owl flew toward them. It was a very strong shot for me with good composition and good light in the eyes, but unfortunately not as strong as a couple of other shots. My second choice was of the Female Urban Fox “Mum". Here the author made great use of the angle and you get this great sense of the fox dominating the street as it looks towards the camera. In fact it doesn’t matter which part of the room you stand in, the fox’s eyes will always follow you. This is because the fox is looking right down the barrel of the lens. It is such a powerful shot again especially as it is taken in low light but I think it could have been stronger if there was more light in her eyes and if the red spot on the left had been darkened down. My first place choice is with shot title ‘Ottercity” I immediately fell in love with this shot, I believe this was shot in Singapore. The shot for me was beautifully composed with an amazing sunset and of course two gorgeous otters frolicking in the foreground. The author did well to expose for the otter considering they were shooting into the light. It is such a delightful shot perfectly summing up how wildlife has adapted to its urban surroundings. A worthy winner 

Finally on the Under 15’s “Caught speeding again” has gone down very well with all the judges. Such a great close up of the world’s fastest bird which as we know are now dominating most churches, cathedrals and high-rise buildings around the UK. Again this shot fits the category well with the traffic passing behind it 

Well done to everyone who entered.



Free The Wild Co-Founder

Firstly, thank you to everyone who took part and a well-deserved congratulations to our Winners.

After quite some time, I, along with my fellow judges were able to decide on the three overall winners, and the winner of our Under 15s category. It took as long as it did because the contendors were all excellent!

I was particularly hard pressed to decide on including Thirsty Work, a fantastic photograph of a fox drinking from a bird bath, but Female Urban Fox "Mum" was just too magical to pass up. This was my ultimate winner, but in light of the other judges' decisions, we collectively gave this photograph second place.

Ottercity, the overall winner, is just stunning. Some of us were even skeptical as to whether it was a genuine photograph, and being that it was my second choice, it makes sense that this photograph won. Well done, Saket!

Owl in the Snow was collectively nominated for 3rd place because it was technically brilliant and the glimpse of the buildings behind the owl subject was just fantastic. It lost out to the others, for me anyway, because the image as a whole didn't have quite the same impact as the other two. A brilliant photograph nonetheless!

Jack's photo of the peregrine falcon stood out the most for me in the under 15s category - the subject and theme were a perfect match.

We have a number of similar competitions scheduled to take place in the near future, so if you didn't do as well as you'd have liked this time around, please check with us again soon - maybe we'll have something right up your alley?

Congratulations to our winners!

Alison Miles_IMG_1234.jpg


PR & Communications Professional

It was genuinely tough to single out the winners as all the finalists - adult and junior - had artistic and technical merit.


However, the ultimate top photos stood out for the story they told about their wild subjects adapting to and thriving in an urban environment.


Congratulations to the winning photographers and also well done to everyone who took part.



FTW Trustee & Communications

It was great to be a part of the Free The Wild Urban Wildlife & Nature Photography Competition, and as a judge no less!

All of the photographs that filtered through into the shortlist and beyond were fantastic, and I had the opportunity to speak with some of you personally about your work - I'm sorry that you guys didn't make it though, but don't be disheartened! FTW has more competitions coming up soon that you should definitely enter.

The 15 finalist images were very difficult to decide over, but my overall favourite was Owl in the Snow, followed closely by Ottercity and then Female Urban Fox "Mum."

The judges made some good arguments for their favourites, but it was our combined scores in the end that dictated the overall winners. All three of my picks went on to win anyway, so I was very pleased with the outcome.

Jack's photograph, "Caught Speeding Again" really fit the bill of what we were looking for in this competition, and while the other two entries were very good, the falcon shot against the traffic was just a great big tick!

Well done to Saket, Dilshan, Steve and Jack for your inspiring work!

Image by USGS


This is an international competition.

Wherever you are, anywhere you are, you can take part! Just grab a camera and don your finest socks - then take a stroll through any urban space and see what you can find!

Entries to the competition close at Midnight on 10 May 2021.

All timings are listed in UTC (GMT) format.


Urban Nature & Wildlife


International (Any)


SLR, Point-and-Shoot, Smartphone (Any)


High-Quality JPEG Only

Colour and Black & White accepted

Landscape and Portrait accepted


10 May 2021


  1. Take a great picture of any natural subject in an urban setting, from a bug on the window to a deer on the road or anything else you're lucky enough to find!

  2. Sign-Up to the FTW Urban Photo Competition and Submit your photo.

  3. From your submissions, Free The Wild will create a shortlist featuring the semifinalist photographs and post these images in a special album on Facebook.

  4. The Competition is split between two categories: Adult Competitors and Under 15 Competitors.

  5. Our supporters and the public cast votes on the semifinalist photos by way of "likes". The 12 most popular images and 3 from the Under 15s Category move into the Finals.

  6. The Final 15 images will then be scrutinized by Five Free The Wild Judges:

    1. John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor

    2. Jamie MacArthur, Professional Wildlife Photographer

    3. Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne, Co-Founder Free the Wild and Wildlife Photographer

    4. Alison Miles, Communications Professional and Wildlife Enthusiast

    5. Sagan Cowne, FTW Trustee, amateur wildlife photographer

  7. The winning photographs, as voted by the FTW Judges, will go on to win a special prize!


After the public vote, the 15 Finalist images will be deliberated over by Free The Wild's very own panel of judges!

Image by Javardh


Free The Wild will present prizes to 15 Finalists as well as 4 overall Competition Winners.


17th May: Announcement of semi-finalists.


18th May - 30th May: Public vote for Finalist selection (2 Categories)

1st June: 15 Finalists Announced - 12 in Adult Category and 3 in Under 15 Category

1st June - 7th June: FTW Judging Panel to select winners

8th June: Winners Announced.

1st Prize:
1st place certificate
A high quality, large format poster print of the winning image – size 120cm x 80cm 
A high-quality printed calendar, featuring the 15 finalist photos


2nd Prize:
2nd  place certificate
A high quality, large format poster print of the winning image – size 80cm x 60cm
A high-quality printed calendar, featuring the 15 finalist photos


3rd Prize:
3rd place certificate
A high quality, large format poster print of the winning image – size 60cm x 40cm
A high-quality printed calendar, featuring the 15 finalist photos


The 15 finalists:
Each finalist will receive a certificate
A high-quality printed calendar, featuring the 15 finalist photos 

WINNER – Under 15 years

Winner in the category under 15 years will receive a certificate
A high quality, large format poster print of the winning image – size 80cm x 60cm
A high-quality printed calendar, featuring the 15 finalist photos


Winning participants will be contacted via the email address provided during Registration. Delivery information will be requested by a Free The Wild representative following prize production and quality checks, after which prizes will be sent via 1st Class Post (UK) or Courier (International).

Image by Irina Babina


Whilst this is a Free The Wild initiative, and Free The Wild shall be a beneficiary of funds raised from this event, neither Free The Wild, its Trustees, staff, agents or assigns shall be held liable for any loss or damage howsoever caused as a result of participating in or spectating at this event.

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