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Wildlife photographers capture incredible images around the world — and the National Wildlife Federation is once again honoring the best of the best.

The organization, which calls itself America’s biggest conservation firm, announced the winners of its 48th annual National Wildlife Photo Contest on Friday, honoring 17 photographers out of 23,000 entries worldwide.

Anup Shah of Chippenham, England, won the contest’s grand prize for his photo of a gorilla surrounded by butterflies in the Central African Republic’s Dzanga Sangha Reserve.

“She deliberately walked through the cloud and let the butterflies envelop her, seeming to relish the rush of wings,” Shah said in a statement. “I love this image because I can see ecstasy on her face.”

The National Wildlife Federation named first- and second-place winners in eight categories: mammals; birds; insects and other invertebrates; underwater wonders; people in nature; amphibians and reptiles; landscapes and plants; and youth. The youth category, recognizing photographers between 13 and 17, is a new addition for 2019. Click on the gallery below to view all the winning photos.

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Six countries produced all the winners: Canada, China, England, France, Kuwait, and the U.S. Within the U.S., the winners came from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.

“Each winning photograph tells a moving story that reminds us of the wonders of nature and why we must fight to protect it,” Lisa Moore, editorial director and editor-in-chief of National Wildlife magazine, said in a statement. “We appreciate wildlife photographers — amateur and professional alike — who devote their time and talent to creating beautiful images ethically made in the wild. They can help us all feel a profound connection to the creatures who so desperately need our help to survive.”

Both amateur and professional photographers can submit photos for the 2020 contest in January.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2019/10/25/national-wildlife-magazine-2019-photo-contest-winners/4082928002/

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