By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
(CNN) — It’s been a fantastic week for fans of funny animal photos.
Fat Bear Week is underway, with public voting starting Wednesday after the event was nearly a casualty of a US government shutdown, and now the UK-based Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards has revealed its 2023 shortlist.
The public’s help is being enlisted here, too, for the important task of reviewing images showing animals in amusing poses and voting for the most chucklesome in the People’s Choice Award. There’s also a chance to win £500 (around $600) in a prize draw.
Should the crown go to the spherical seal galumphing at speed along the English coast? Or how about the elegant Ubud monkey using its tail as a fake mustache? Perhaps you’re swayed by the delighted turtle befriending a dragonfly, or the high-energy joey throwing “jazz hands” in mid-air.
All this comical anthropomorphization is not without its serious side, though.
The awards, founded in 2015 by professional photographers Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam, also promote wildlife conservation. This year’s competition supports Whitley Fund for Nature, a UK charity that helps fund conservationists around the world.
The expert judges include UK celebrities such as TV presenter Kate Humble and comedian Hugh Dennis, as well as renowned wildlife photographers Daisy Gilardini and Will Bullard-Lucas.
The Overall Winner, Category and Highly Commended Winners will be announced on November 23, with the top image winning a one-week safari in Kenya’s Maasai Mara as well as a handmade trophy.
For the diehards, however, the LOLs don’t stop here.
The first Comedy Wildlife Guided African Safari will launch in Tanzania in October 2024, guided by the awards’ co-founders Hicks and Sullam and wildlife expert Humble.
The eight-night trip costs £11,425 (about $13,900) per person for double occupancy. Watch out for side-splitting moments in those open safari vehicles – ROFL-ing your way into the path of a wildebeest migration is not recommended.
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