Best Wild Animal Photo of 2012

And the winner is …

Emperor penguins rocket toward an exit hole in the ice in the winning picture of the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

To get the shot, taken in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, photographer Paul Nicklen used polar survival skills he’d learned as a child among the Inuit on Canada’s Baffin Island. Nicklen began by lowering himself through a hole in the ice and breathed through a snorkel while waiting for the penguins to return from foraging. More pictures here.

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