07:28 GMT +313 November 2019
Listen Live
    It was early spring on the alpine meadowland of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, in China’s Qilian Mountains National Nature Reserve, and very cold. The marmot was hungry. It was still in its winter coat and not long out of its six-month, winter hibernation, spent deep underground with the rest of its colony of 30 or so. It had spotted the fox an hour earlier, and sounded the alarm to warn its companions to get back underground. But the fox itself hadn’t reacted, and was still in the same position. So the marmot had ventured out of its burrow again to search for plants to graze on. The fox continued to lie still. Then suddenly she rushed forward. And with lightning reactions,Yongqing seized his shot.His fast exposure froze the attack. The intensity of life and death was written on their faces –the predator mid-move, her long canines revealed, and the terrified prey, fore paw outstretched, with long claws adapted for digging, not fighting.Such predator-prey interaction is part of the natural ecology of the plateau ecosystem, where rodents, in particular the plateaupikas (smaller than marmots), are keystone species. Not only are they the main prey for foxes and nearly all the other predators, they are key to the health of the grassland, digging burrows that also provide homes for many small animals including birds, lizards and insects, and creating microhabitats that increase the diversity of plant species and therefore the richness of the meadows.

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition shows most fascinating pictures captivated by photographers from around the globe.

    The winners of the fifty-sixth competition were announced on 15 October, with the Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao receiving the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 for his picture dubbed ''The moment''. As it is written on the competition's official Facebook page, Yongqing was selected by the judges from over 48,000 entries for his picture ''frames nature’s ultimate challenge - its battle for survival''.

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is run and owned by the Natural History Museum in London.

    Enjoy other winners' images captivating the beauty of the natural world in our gallery.

    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik

    More photos

    • Last update: 17:27 11.11.2019
      17:27 11.11.2019

      Sputnik Travel Guide: Ten Places to Visit in 2020

      As 2020 is around the corner, many people are starting to plan their travel schedule to enjoy places they have long been eager to visit. If you're new to travelling or haven't made up your mind yet what places to visit, here's a list of 10 countries that are worth considering.

      10
    • A model presents a creation from Valentino Haute Couture collection by designer Pierpaolo Piccioli during a fashion show at the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.
      Last update: 15:00 10.11.2019
      15:00 10.11.2019

      Daydream in Beijing: Valentino Haute Couture Show Dazes Spectators With Rennaissance-Inspired Garbs

      A total of 45 costumes were displayed at the fashion show, amazing the attendees who cheered the designer with a round of applause.

      15
    • A living room is displayed in the GDR-Museum in Pirna, Germany; picture taken 16 October 2019.
      Last update: 16:03 09.11.2019
      16:03 09.11.2019

      Beyond the Berlin Wall: Daily Life in East Germany Captured by Unique Museum Showpieces

      Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell; the elimination of the barrier, which split the western and eastern parts of the city both physically and ideologically, paved the way for the reunification of the country. And even though East Germany as a separate state does not exist anymore, its legacy remains preserved in museums.

      15
    • This Week in Pictures: 2-8 November
      Last update: 16:30 08.11.2019
      16:30 08.11.2019

      This Week in Pictures: 2-8 Novermber

      Last seven days were full of important events and massive incidents that occurred across the globe. Check out Sputnik's gallery to see the most colourful news you could have missed this week.

      17