Camera-trap photos are a little like teddy-bear-camouflaged nanny-cams for endangered or hard-to-photograph species, which makes the winners of this year's BBC Wildlife's Camera-trap Photo of the Year competition some of the most candid wildlife portraits out there.
Via the BBC:
As forward leaps in technology go, camera-traps have been relatively unsung. Yet the introduction of sensitive, affordable digital camera-traps has proved to be one of the most important developments for field researchers, effectively multiplying the eyes of scientists and conservation workers.
Camera-traps don't need to sleep or eat, but keep constant watch on key patches of habitat, ready to detect the action and providing priceless insights into wildlife movements, populations and distribution.
Established in 2010, this competition recognises the most visually exciting or significant camera-trap images taken by conservationists around the world. It offers us the opportunity to share the discoveries and triumphs of field researchers, and those organisations the chance to win funding for their projects.
Contest winners and runners up were announced just a few days ago. Here are some of our favorites.
Animal Portraits commended: Giant pangolin by Laila Bahaa-el-din/Panthera/WildCRU, Gabon
Animal Portraits commended: Amur tiger cubs by Amur Leopard Project/WCS Russia Program, Southwest Primorski Krai, Russian Far East
Animal Behaviour runner-up: Spitting sloth bear by WWF-India
The title of this photograph is "spitting sloth bear." Enough said.
Animal Portraits and overall winner: Leopard path by Zhou Zhefeng, China
New Discoveries runner-up: Jaguar family by Esteban Payán Garrido/Panthera, Colombia
Check out the rest of this year's winners over at DiscoverWildlife.
Top image: Animal Portraits runner-up: Hare in a storm by Beatriz Estanque, Portugal.