A ‘mesmerising’ photo of a grizzly bear has triumphed in the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2015.

© Andy Skillen

Andy Skillen’s image beat more than 450 other entries in the wildlife photography contest, organised by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which runs London Zoo.

Andy captured the photo of a female grizzly bear at the Lake Clark National Park in Alaska.

Commenting on his winning shot, Andy said: ‘As it was late in the day, and the light was lending itself to a truly spectacular silhouette, I lay down in the water a little way along the beach and waited for her [the bear] to come into shot.

‘She dipped her head to search for fish and her back momentarily became part of the mountain range.

‘That gave me the split-second I needed to grab the image, and to portray the enormity of the landscape – and at the same time the all-dominant presence that only a grizzly can impart to a wilderness scene.’

ZSL’s director general Ralph Armond said: ‘As stories of rare species facing extinction and increasing illegal wildlife trade dominate headlines, the need to raise awareness and celebrate the wonders of the natural world has never been more pressing.

‘The ZSL Animal Photography Prize encourages photographers to capture the very essence of the animal kingdom and all that it entails, and the diversity of wildlife portrayed in the entries we’ve received has been so inspiring.’

Andy added: ‘If this image convinces one person that wilderness is soul-fulfilling reality, full of amazing wildlife that needs saving, then I will have achieved everything I wanted to.’

Judges included TV presenter Kate Humble and ornithologist Bill Oddie.

An exhibition of the best images is on at London Zoo until 28 February 2016.

For details visit www.zsl.org/about-us/zsl-animal-photography-prize.

Cat 1 Adult Runner Up - Anoura Geoffroy's tailless bat (c) Nicolas Reusens.web© Anoura Geoffroy

Cat 1 Adult Runner Up - THE STRONGEST BOND (c)Tom Way.web© Tom Way

Cat 3 Adult Winner - BRIGHT EYES (c)Carolyn Collins.web© Carolyn Collins

Cat 5 Adult Runner Up - ORANGE-TIPPED BUTTERFLY (c)Samuel Bayliss.web© Samuel Bayliss

Male European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) presenting female with a food gift of a Dragonfly as part of a courtship ritual© John Gooday

Cat 6 Adult Runner Up - TURTLE PORTRAIT (c)Michael Gallagher.web© Michael Gallagher