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Polar bear's icy nap wins top wildlife photography prize

Sleeping polar bear on an iceberg in "Ice Bed" (Photo:{ }Nima Sarikhani/Natural History Museum London){ }
Sleeping polar bear on an iceberg in "Ice Bed" (Photo: Nima Sarikhani/Natural History Museum London)
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A photo of a polar bear napping and curled up on an iceberg was stunning enough to win over 75,000 people and become the winner of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.

Titled "Ice Bed," British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani said it was an honor to have her "work recognized alongside the many amazing winners."

"The dreamy image captures the moment a polar bear drifts off to sleep on a bed made of ice against stunning pink and blue sky," The Natural History Museum of London said.

Sarikhani captured the image while spending three days searching for polar bears on an expedition vessel off the Svalbard archipelago, according to a news release.

He said after being thwarted by thick fog around the Norweigian Islands, he came across an area of sea ice that had a pair of bears, one younger and one older male.

"This photograph has stirred strong emotions in many of those who have seen it," Sarkikhani added. "Whilst climate change is the biggest challenge we face, I hope that this photograph also inspires hope. There is still time to fix the mess we have caused."

Douglas Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, called it a "poignant image" that allows people to see the "beauty and fragility of our planet."

Four other highly commended images will be displayed with the winner at the Natural History Museum in London until June 30.

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