It’s stunning to see wild animals up close — especially when they’re caught in the beauty of their natural surroundings.

Agora, a photo app, challenged its users to submit their best animal pics of 2020, to be voted on by their users. The most popular snap would earn its photographer $1,000. With some serious scratch on the line, Agora said it received 13,888 submissions displaying the “precious variety of animal life surrounding us.” 

“Photography is a powerful medium to generate empathy and a deeper understanding of the world surrounding us,” said Octavi Royo, Agora CEO, in a press release. “Only one species living on Earth can choose what the future will look like, and that species is us!” 

The big winner ended up being an image of an iguana taken by the user @jjnmatt. Below you’ll find that image, plus the other finalists, and a few of our favorites to enjoy. 

The winning image.
The winning image.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishers — as seen below — were also pretty amazing. 

This top-five photo capture a family of elephants.
This top-five photo captures a family of elephants.
Titled "Honor Fight," this image couldn't have been better timed.
Titled “Honor Flight,” this image couldn’t have been better timed.
This photo of a reindeer is so gorgeous it hardly looks real.
This photo of a reindeer is so gorgeous it hardly looks real.
Stunning image a cattle trotting through a field of heather in bloom.
Stunning image of a cattle trotting through a field of heather in bloom.

That rounds out the top five slots in the Agora contest, but we couldn’t help including a few of our other favorites from the Top 50. Here are 10 more pictures of animals we really loved. 

Look at this chimp, posing like it knows what's up.
Look at this chimp, posing like it knows what’s up.
OK, this photo is beautiful but I also feel like the photographer shouldn't have stuck around to take it.
OK, this photo is beautiful but I also feel like the photographer shouldn’t have stuck around to take it.
This is just cool.
This is just cool.
Unbearably cute.
Unbearably cute.
A big ol' orangutan.
A big ol’ orangutan.
This photo was titled "Shadow Game" for obvious reasons.
This photo was titled “Shadow Game” for obvious reasons.
This Icelandic horse is fashionable as hell.
This Icelandic horse is as fashionable as hell.
An adorable rhesus macaque wants a snack.
An adorable rhesus macaque wants a snack.
Sea turtles are so dope.
Sea turtles are so dope.
This picture was titled "Friends." Get it?
This picture was titled “Friends.” Get it?

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