2011 was a great year for animal photos and, surprisingly, it's Buzzfeed and not a nature site which put together 50 of the best. Then again, it makes perfect sense.
Because Buzzfeed is a social networking, bookmarking, trend-spotting, news aggregating, destination site (whew!) with countless users contributing daily. Who better to cull through the thousands of photos submitted in 2011? And not all of them by the usual suspects.
It's the raw nature of Buzzfeed which actually elevates the site over some of the more established players dedicated to the finest collections of animal photos.
Their collection of 50 Incredible Photos Of Animals Taken In 2011 runs the gauntlet from the wildlife professional to the (mostly) lucky human who just happened to be standing by with a camera handy.
Of course, that's much more common these days. And collections like these benefit from the digital revolution which makes every person on the planet a potential world-class animal photographer.
There's no way to post all 50 here. And no need, really. That's what YouTube is for. So to choose just one of these incredible animal photos comes down to personal choice, subject matter and composition. And, oh yeah... the warm and fuzzies.
That's why this photo of a chimpanzee feeding milk to a tiger cub makes the ultimate cut. There's a bit of humanity mixed in, and to be honest, where would the animal world be if that motivation wasn't somewhere to be found in the mix?
Maybe in 2012--and, hopefully--beyond, such regard will be the prime mover in the race to conserve the steadily declining natural world.
For now, just sit back, relax... and watch.
Image courtesy of Buzzfeed