Ever seen anything cuter than a bunch of bats wrapped up like babies ready for nap-time at a bat hospital? Thanks to Terre Sauvage IUCN Bourse prize winner, Jurgen Freund, you can - via the wildlife and nature magazine's January edition which showcases the winners of its Nature Image Awards (NIA) 2015.
Top prize at the NIA was the prestigious IUCN Bourse, a €4,000 purse awarded to an outstanding photographic submission which combines engaging storytelling with powerful images.
As a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Jurgen's humane wildlife documentary approach recounting the story of the Tolga Bat Hospital and the flying foxes of the Atherton Tablelands, helped secured the prize.
But it was a diversity of experience and the variety of high quality submissions which ensured his work shone brighter than those of other photographers. In addition to second place in the Man and Nature category, Jurgen claimed second prize in the Portfolio category as well as a nomination in the inaugural SOS Threatened Species category.
With the prize money from the IUCN Bourse, Jurgen will visit an SOS funded species conservation project in 2016 to shoot a photo story of his choice. This photo story will be published exclusively in a winter edition of the Terre Sauvage Magazine.
For species conservation communications, this will be the third consecutive year the IUCN Bourse winner has visited an SOS project to photograph and document the work of an SOS Grantee.
This relationship between IUCN's SOS and Terre Sauvage represents an important and valuable means of reaching and engaging a broader public and fits with the SOS goal to inspire a new generation to connect with nature and wildlife while cherishing the role of conservation in our world.
The inauguration of the SOS Threatened Species category - where photographers submitted photographic essays of species which are officially registered as threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - represented an exciting development in this relationship.
Featuring a diversity of subjects and visual styles, it is hoped this year's NIA competition will attract an even wider and wilder selection of wildlife photographs from a new generation of budding conservation photographers.
The 2016 Nature Image Awards will be open for submissions earlier than the 2015 competition. More updates and times to be published soon.