The image that won this year’s Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is at the centre of an investigation following claims that the wolf featured in the picture was ‘trained’.

The annual competition bans non-wildlife from featuring in submitted photos.

The winning photographer, José Luis Rodriguez, had entered a photo of an ‘Iberian wolf’ jumping over a gate.

A spokeswoman for the Natural History Museum, which helps organise the contest, told Amateur Photographer today: ‘We are looking into details of the allegations and are hoping to reconvene our judging panel next week.’

She added: ‘The allegation is that a trained animal model was used in the photograph.

‘Using a trained animal model would break the competition rules and we take any such allegation very seriously.’

The claims are revealed in Finland-based magazine Suomen Luonto.

The spokeswoman said the judges will consider the information they have received and report to the co-owners of the competition, BBC Wildlife Magazine.

She declined to comment further, saying only that a decision on the matter will not be announced until the new year.

José Luis Rodriguez, who lives in Spain, could not be reached for comment this morning.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is billed as the world’s most prestigious photography competition of its kind.

This year it pulled in a record 43,135 entries from 94 countries.