Great Horned Owls submitted by Paul Cowhig.

BC SPCA’s eighth annual Wildlife-In-Focus photography contest

Photographers have until the end of September to submit their images.

Hit us with your best shot! The BC SPCA’s eighth annual Wildlife-In-Focus photography contest, featuring a new platform and a brand-new look, is open for entries.

Each year, participating photographers go wild to capture the best of British Columbia’s wildlife through the lens, but you don’t have to be a photographer to support them with the introduction of a new People’s Choice Award, you can cast your ballot by donating to vote. A Douglas Squirrel from Surrey photographer Lori Clark and a pair of owls from Kelowna’s Paul Cowhig are currently fighting for the lead. Vote for your favourite images to give them a leg up.

“We are constantly amazed at the mind-blowing photos we receive it certainly makes it hard for the judges to choose the winning photos,” says BC SPCA chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois. “We are very excited to announce that this year, there’s a new category participating photographers can win the People’s Choice Award. Friends, family, and members of the public can all support their favourite photos all while helping wildlife.”

The contest supports the BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) on Vancouver Island, where almost 3,000 orphaned and injured wild animals are cared for each year. Photos entered in previous contests have been featured in the BC SPCA’s Animal Sense and Bark! magazines, as well as in BC SPCA educational materials, local newspapers, websites and social media a testament to the caliber of the images that are entered.

Prizes are also awarded for the top three photos in each of two judged categories: Wild Settings and Backyard Habitats. All amateur photographers at least 14 years of age are invited to enter the competition, which runs from July 1 to Sept. 30, by submitting their most impressive digital images of BC’s wildlife at rest, work and play.

All photos of wildlife entered must be taken within BC and submitted digitally. “Wildlife” includes free-living birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish and insects, but not exotic, feral or domestic animals, or wildlife in zoos or rehabilitation facilities. Learn more about this year’s contest and view past winners’ images at spca.bc.ca/wildlife-in-focus.

“The contest encourages participants to explore green spaces, roadsides, mountain passes, beach and backyards to find photos that really showcase the astonishing diversity of animals we have throughout BC, and represent the resiliency of local wildlife living at the interface with humans,” Dubois says.

Photographers can also find inspiration online, with the 24/7 live-streaming Wild ARC Critter Cam, which features wild patients.

For more information, email contest@wildarc.com.