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Photos from Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition 

It is a poignant image of how the plastic we dump in the ocean confuses and endangers marine life.

This seahorse tugging a cotton bud through the depths follows images of turtles tangled in carrier bags and puffins with plastic in their beaks.

A finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, it is part of a series which show the ‘wonder and fragility of the natural world’.

A seahorse tugging a cotton bud through the depths follows images of turtles tangled in carrier bags and puffins with plastic in their beaks

Bold Eagle by Klaus Nigge, one of the finalists in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

Bold Eagle by Klaus Nigge, one of the finalists in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017

Swim Gyn by Laurent Ballesta: The prestigious annual competition, now in its 53rd year, selects winning pictures for their ¿creativity, originality and technical excellence¿

Swim Gyn by Laurent Ballesta: The prestigious annual competition, now in its 53rd year, selects winning pictures for their ‘creativity, originality and technical excellence’

Winter Pause by Mats Andersson: A pensive squirrel pauses among foliage in this black and white picture

Winter Pause by Mats Andersson: A pensive squirrel pauses among foliage in this black and white picture

Glimpse of a Lynx by Laura Albiac Vilas: There were entries from professional and amateur photographers of all ages across 92 countries this year

Glimpse of a Lynx by Laura Albiac Vilas: There were entries from professional and amateur photographers of all ages across 92 countries this year

Romance Among the Angels by Andrey Narchuk: The overall winners will be announced on October 17

Romance Among the Angels by Andrey Narchuk: The overall winners will be announced on October 17

Cotton buds are one of the plastic threats to animals, with the Marine Conservation Society reporting finding 13,500 of the tiny plastic sticks on a single beach.

After being flushed, they end up in the water, where marine life can swallow them, prompting companies including Waitrose and Johnson & Johnson in announcing a switch from plastic to paper stems.

The seahorse picture was chosen along with more enchanting images of a pensive squirrel and synchronised dancing seals among the year’s best wildlife images. Finalists of the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year were selected from nearly 50,000 entries and the overall winners will be announced on October 17.

The best entries will be exhibited in London’s Natural History Museum from October 20 until spring next year.

The museum said they will then go on tour across Britain and internationally, ‘bringing the wonder and fragility of the natural world to millions beyond London.’

Arctic Treasure by Sergey Gorshkov: The best entries will be exhibited in London¿s Natural History Museum from October 20 until spring next year

Arctic Treasure by Sergey Gorshkov: The best entries will be exhibited in London’s Natural History Museum from October 20 until spring next year

Bear Hug by Ashleigh Scully: Finalists of the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year were selected from nearly 50,000 entries

Bear Hug by Ashleigh Scully: Finalists of the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year were selected from nearly 50,000 entries

Resplendent delivery by Tyohar Kastiel: The museum said the photographs will also go on tour across Britain and internationally

Resplendent delivery by Tyohar Kastiel: The museum said the photographs will also go on tour across Britain and internationally

Saved but Caged by Steve Winter: It is part of a series which show the ¿wonder and fragility of the natural world¿

Saved but Caged by Steve Winter: It is part of a series which show the ‘wonder and fragility of the natural world’

Saguaro Twist by Jack Dykinga: The museum said the photos 'show the astonishing diversity of life on our planet and the crucial need to shape a more sustainable future'

Saguaro Twist by Jack Dykinga: The museum said the photos ‘show the astonishing diversity of life on our planet and the crucial need to shape a more sustainable future’

The Insiders by Quing Lin: Curious clownfish appear to smile as they greet the photographer in this photograph

The Insiders by Quing Lin: Curious clownfish appear to smile as they greet the photographer in this photograph

In a statement, the museum added: ‘As we contemplate our critical role in Earth’s future, the images show the astonishing diversity of life on our planet and the crucial need to shape a more sustainable future.’

The prestigious annual competition, now in its 53rd year, selects winning pictures for their ‘creativity, originality and technical excellence’.

There were nearly 50,000 entries from professional and amateur photographers of all ages across 92 countries this year. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk