World Press Photos: Nature category

First Prize Nature Category, Singles

Suzhou, Anhui Province, China: 
A monkey being trained for circus cowers as its trainer approaches. With more than 300 troupes, Suzhou is known as the home of the Chinese circus. PHOTO: YONGZHI CHU, CHINA

First Prize Nature Category, Stories

When spores of the fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus, the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks burst from the ant's husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin the process again. PHOTO: ANAND VARMA, USA, FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE

Second Prize Nature Category, Singles

Lewa Downs, Northern Kenya: A group of young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in their lives. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife that exists literally in their own backyard. Organized by sophisticated, heavily armed criminal networks and fueled by heavy demand from newly minted millionaires in emerging markets, poaching is devastating the great animals of the African plains. Much needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife and the conflict between poachers and increasingly militarized wildlife rangers, but very little has been said about the indigenous communities on the frontlines of the poaching wars and the work that is being done to strengthen them. These communities hold the key to saving Africa’s great animals. PHOTO: AMI VITALE, USA

Third Prize Nature Category, Singles

Indonesia’s Last Orangutans: Angelo, a 14-year-old male orangutan, lies waiting for medical examination, in the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) care center in North Sumatra, Indonesia. He was found with air-gun pellets embedded in his body, in a palm-oil plantation. PHOTO: SANDRA HOYN