Riveting: Photo of scared marmot battling fox wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year award

Credit: AxxLC/Pixabay

Credit: AxxLC/Pixabay

It's a terrifying moment, but a riveting one.

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A photograph of a female Tibetan fox about to pounce on a frightened Himalayan marmot was the winning entry in the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, sponsored by the Natural History Museum in London, the museum announced on its website.

The photograph, snapped by Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao, is called "The Moment," and shows the marmot frozen in fear with its mouth hanging open as the fox, guarding its three cubs, prepares to kill it. The photograph was taken in China's Qilian Mountains, museum officials said.

Roz Kidman Cox, chairwoman of the contest's judging committee, said in a museum news release that the photograph was "quite simply the perfect moment."

"The expressive intensity of the postures holds you transfixed, and the thread of energy between the raised paws seems to hold the protagonists in perfect balance," Cox said. "Images from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are rare enough, but to have captured such a powerful interaction between a Tibetan fox and a marmot -- two species key to the ecology of this high-grassland region -- is extraordinary."

The winning photograph was chosen over more than 48,000 entries submitted from 100 countries, museum officials said in the news release.

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