Northern Ireland

Stunning images win Belfast Zoo photo competition

Category C (best black and white picture) 1st prize - Grant's zebras by William Allen Image copyright William Allen
Image caption William Allen won first prize in the best black and white picture category for 'Grant's zebras'

The residents of Belfast Zoo have been enjoying a photo shoot, courtesy of some eager beavers keen to win kudos for their camera skills.

The winners of Belfast Zoo's annual photographic competition have been announced.

Image copyright Mervyn Marshall
Image caption Mervyn Marshall won first prize in the 'best picture taken by a zoo visitor' category for 'Turquoise dwarf gecko'

The competition, which has been running for 34 years, is aimed at budding and amateur photographers.

Image copyright A Allen
Image caption Alexander Allen won best picture taken by an under 16 for 'Chestnut-backed thrush'
Image copyright Fiona Beattie
Image caption Fiona Beattie won second prize in the best black and white picture category for 'Western lowland gorilla'

Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said the judges had been "stunned" by the standard of the submissions.

Ms Cairns said the zoo had received almost double the amount of submissions this year - with more than 650 entries.

Image copyright Gemma Vennard
Image caption Gemma Vennard won best funny caption with 'Some mothers do 'av 'em'
Image copyright Ralph McCullagh
Image caption Ralph McCullagh won second prize in the 'best picture of our primate heroes' category for 'ring-tailed lemurs'
Image copyright Marin Kulakova
Image caption Zoo visitor Marina Kulakova received a highly commended for her picture of a meerkat

"This year we even introduced a new category to challenge visitors to get some snaps of our most endangered primates," she added.

"We were astounded by the number of species represented in the competition from the tiny pygmy marmoset to Tina the elephant."

Image copyright William Allen
Image caption William Allen won first prize in the best picture of our primate heroes category for 'golden lion tamarin'
Image copyright Joe Beattie
Image caption Joe Beattie won best picture taken by a club photographer for his red panda photograph
Image copyright William Allen
Image caption William Allen received a highly commended for his black and white picture of an Asian elephant