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Chameleon snares top photo prize

An action shot of a chameleon as it snares its prey with its extended tongue has scooped top prize in an animal photography competition.

The image of the panther chameleon in mid-catch framed by jungle leaves, taken by Simone Sbaraglia, beat thousands of entries to win the third annual Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Animal Photography Prize.

Images of a gentoo penguin jumping over the waves and a black-and-white portrait of an orangutan are among the category winners in the competition, which awarded adult and junior winners for each of six categories and then overall winners.

Categories include the "weird and wonderful", "last chance to see" and "the perfect moment", which was won by Mr Sbaraglia.

The photographer from Rome, Italy, said he waited days to capture his winning shot, which scooped him £1,000 for his category win and another £1,000 for coming top overall in the competition.

"I spent a significant amount of time trying to learn the animal's behaviour to try and anticipate this moment. After several days I was able to achieve the picture that I was looking for.

"I hope that when people see it, they are amazed by this animal, connect with nature and learn to love and respect it."

ZSL's photography exhibition project manager Sarah Barron said: "The winning pictures in the 2014 ZSL Animal Photography Prize are quite simply some of the most incredible images we've seen yet.

"We deliberately choose categories that will encourage photographers to really delve into the natural world, and the winning images capture this perfectly."

The winning images were chosen by a panel of judges including TV presenter and ZSL honorary conservation fellow Kate Humble and ornithologist Bill Oddie.

The best images from the competition are going on display at London Zoo from Friday, when ZSL also launches the 2015 awards.

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