A photograph of a pair of Singapore's smooth-coated otters has won a Comedy Wildlife Photography Award.
In the photo titled "Time for School", a wide-eyed baby otter looks stunned as its parent grabs it by its nape, forcing it to practise swimming.
The meme-worthy shot won the "Creatures Under The Sea" category of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, which were announced on 17 November. The annual competition accepts entries from all over the world and seeks to raise awareness for wildlife conservation through funny pictures of animals.
"Time for School" was taken by Teo Chee Kee, a 46-year-old Singaporean wildlife photography hobbyist who runs a guitar service and repair shop.
Teo told us that he took the photo in late 2020 along Kallang River, which was home to a family of otters known to local otter enthusiasts as the Bishan otters.
The Bishan otters had just given birth to a litter of pups then. "It was the period during which the baby otters were learning to swim," said Teo. "They would swim for a small stretch near the river bank, then get tired and want to return to the nest. But the adults would carry them back and make them swim back again, to train them to swim."
Teo said he was happy at winning the award, although it doesn't come with a cash prize. "This is a special photography contest. It's meant to make people laugh. It's quite meaningful for me, that my photo can bring smiles to people."
"Time for School" was also featured on National Geographic Spain's Instagram page in September.
Two of Teo's pictures of birds taken during his travels in the UK and Australia have also been featured in the BBC Wildlife Magazine.
The overall winner of the 2021 awards is this photo of a golden silk monkey titled "Ouch!"
In case you're curious, these are the winners of the categories for Creatures on the Land and Creatures in the Air:
You can check out the other winners on the Comedy Wildlife Photography website.
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