World Animal Day, an annual celebration of animals, is held on October 4 every year and is coordinated by Naturewatch Foundation, a UK-based animal welfare charity that has campaigned on behalf of animals for 30 years.
On and around World Animal Day, hundreds of activities are held by individuals and groups to increase awareness or fundraise for a multitude of animal welfare causes and issues. In 2020, much of the participation was virtual, due to COVID-10 social distancing restrictions, which made the ‘Animal Photos of the Year’ challenge an ideal activity for keen photographers.
This year’s winning images will be displayed on the World Animal Day website banner throughout the month leading up to October 4. Four outstanding images will feature on the day itself, when website traffic is at its busiest. People from around the world, and from all walks of life, are invited to take part.
In 2020, Anne Holden, from Queensland, Australia, submitted a stunning image of her British Shorthair cat, Sarah Bear Pusskins. She said: “I was so delighted to be a winner in the World Animal Day photo competition in 2020 and get behind two things I am passionate about – photography and, of course, my love of animals. I hope by taking part in this event, I can do a small part to raise the status of animals and their welfare as well as share some of my images with the world.”
The youngest winner was Eva, aged 13, from England. While on holiday in the Scottish Highlands, she used her father’s camera phone to take a perfectly timed photo of a deer near Rhiconich. She said: “Taking part in the competition was fun, and I loved taking the photo. It was also amazing looking at all the other entrants’ photos!”
Animal welfare organisations are welcome to submit images of the animals in their care and the competition is an opportunity to highlight their crucial work. World Animal Day has over 90 voluntary ambassadors in more than 70 countries, all working as animal welfare professionals.
Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (HART), based in Pokhara, Nepal, has been an ambassador organisation for over 15 years and regularly participates in World Animal Day activities, including the ‘Animal Photos of the Year’ challenge.
Anjani Gurung is the Communications Officer at HART. She said: “Last year, we had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the World Animal Day photo contest and it was an incredible experience. Not only did we have a chance to share our work through the photos, but we were equally amazed to see beautiful pictures from other participants. A picture is worth a thousand words and through these pictures, we witnessed change and a brighter future for all the creatures on the planet.”
Caroline Ruane, Coordinator at World Animal Day HQ, said: “We were delighted with the response to our photo challenge in 2020 and hope that it will be even more successful this year. As a non-profit organisation, we aren’t able to offer a cash prize. However, with the photographer’s permission, all images used will be clearly credited and will be shared on our social media channels as well as the website. Being featured on our home page is a fantastic opportunity for photography businesses or animal welfare organisations to showcase their work. Last year on October 4, World Animal Day reached over 100 million people!
We enjoyed seeing the images sent to us in 2020. Eva’s natural shot of a deer was taken with a phone camera, which shows that you don’t need expensive equipment to take beautiful, engaging photos. Our goal is to raise the status of animals around the world so we’re more interested in images that we know our supporters will appreciate – pictures that inspire empathy and action. Animals desperately need us to speak up for them, not just on World Animal Day, but throughout the year.”
The deadline for entries is 11:59 on Tuesday August 31, 2021. There is no admission fee.
Images must adhere to animal welfare standards.
Full information, including guidelines and submission requirements, can be found on the website:
Find out more about World Animal Day and how to get involved: worldanimalday.org.uk