Picture credit: Greg du Toit

Open to amateur and professional photographers, the £50,000 contest last year pulled in 43,000 entries worldwide.

Judges say they are on the hunt for images that capture ‘the beauty, mystery, fragility and diversity of life on our planet’.

Organisers add: ‘They should interpret the familiar in new ways and give a voice to subjects, places and issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.’

For the first time, a new category called WILD-I invites ‘budding citizen reporters’ aged 17 and under to submit a ‘photo story’ using their mobile device.

This should include six still images, up to 150 words of text and an optional 90 seconds of video. Potential subjects could include conservation efforts or habitat destruction, for example.

The winner of this section will bag prizes including £750, but will not be eligible to win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year title.

Last year, South African photographer Greg du Toit won the overall £10,000 prize.

The first Wildlife Photographer of the Year opened for entries in 1964.

For full details of this year’s competition visit www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com from Monday.