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The Funniest Wildlife Photo of the Year Goes to This Klutzy Lion Cub

Check out the picture that won the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
A lion cub twists around in the air, scraping its paw along a tree trunk.

Photographer Jennifer Hadley witnessed a less-than-majestic moment when a lion cub in Tanzania attempted to descend a tree. 

Jennifer Hadley/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

The moment fans of funny animal photos have been waiting for has arrived at last. The 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards declared a winner last week, and it's a gem. Jennifer Hadley's photo of a derpy lion cub falling down a tree took top honors.

Despite the tree dismount failure, the 3-month-old cub was just fine. Hadley captured the amusing moment in Tanzania. 

"It was probably his first time in a tree, and he decided to just go for it," the photographer said. The little big cat managed to right itself in the air and safely land on all four feet.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is an annual competition that seeks out the funniest nature photographs as a way to celebrate the lighter side of life and raise awareness of conservation efforts. The competition is partnered with the Whitley Fund for Nature, a UK conservation organization.

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards announced the finalists back in October, so I've been eagerly awaiting the verdict on the champion. You can check out some of my favorite highlights from the entire competition:

Nature Goes Nuts in Delightful 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards Shots

See all photos

The lion cub was the overall winner, but the awards also named a series of category winners honoring photos of a winking owl and a "smiling" fish, among others. The people's choice award also went to Hadley for her fortuitous shot of two penguins. One of the flightless birds is holding up a fin like it's telling the other to shove off.

Two penguins stand at a distance on the beach with one looking away an the other looking upward while extending a fin at its companion.
Enlarge Image
Two penguins stand at a distance on the beach with one looking away an the other looking upward while extending a fin at its companion.

Photographer Jennifer Hadley's penguin shot was the people's choice winner for the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Jennifer Hadley/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

All the photos are worth a look as evidence of the delight that can be found in nature and as a reminder of why it's so important to protect our world and the creatures that live in it.