An internationally renowned photography exhibition is returning to Coventry to showcase the most extraordinary images from the natural world – and will be free to see.

Awarded images from the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be displayed at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum as part of an international tour.

One hundred spectacular images from the 2018 competition will feature at the free exhibition running from Saturday, February 16 to Sunday, June 2.

The acclaimed competition, first held in 1965, showcases the most impressive images of the natural world, from breath-taking animal portraits and dramatic landscapes, to bizarre species and endangered habitats.

The 2018 edition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year celebrates biodiversity, promotes conservation, and champions ethical photography, with winning photographs chosen from over 45,000 submissions by expert judges for their creativity, originality and technical excellence.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London, with the award-winning images seen by millions across the globe each year, and the Herbert is the first West Midlands gallery to host the exhibition.

Dutchman Marsel van Oosten claimed the top prize for 2018 for his entry – The Golden Couple – a portrait of a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys in the Qinling Mountains in China.

Skye Meaker, from South Africa, was the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 Grand title winner for his image Lounging Leopard, an intimate portrait of one of the resident leopards of the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana.

Francis Ranford, Cultural & Creative Director at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum said: “The judges have chosen some truly memorable images for the 2018 exhibition, and it will be fantastic to showcase 100 of these entries in our gallery.

“There will be a wide variety of works on display, reflecting the diversity of the earth’s environments, and capturing endangered species in their natural habitats. It really is a must-see.”

Jan English, Head of Touring Exhibitions at the Natural History Museum, said: “Wildlife Photographer of the Year celebrates the very best nature photography, and it is consistently one of our most successful touring exhibitions, enjoyed by millions every year. These images tell thought-provoking stories about our planet that prompt us all to think differently about the natural world and the future we want to create.”

Entries for the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year are now closed, with the winners to be announced in October 2019.

Admission to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery is free.