The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has today opened for entries, sparking a global search for the most u2018inspirational and provocative nature photographyu2019.

Bence Mate

Picture credit: Bence Máté/Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has today opened for entries, sparking a global search for the most ?inspirational and provocative nature photography?.

Open to amateur and professional photographers, the contest – now in its 47th year – boasts a top prize of £10,000 and a total prize fund of £24,500.

The judging panel will once again be chaired by Mark Carwardine who said: ‘A beautiful and technically strong image is not enough. The key to winning and standing out from the crowd is originality and creativity?

?The judges will be looking for something they haven?t seen before ? a fresh and exciting way of portraying life on Earth.?

Last year?s competition pulled in 31,000 entries and was won by Hungarian photographer Bence Máté who had entered a picture of ants in a Costa Rican rainforest.

Photographers can enter their images online at www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto.

The closing date is 18 March 2011.

The contest is run by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine.