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A sleeping polar bear and some sociable penguins are among the images shortlisted for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice award

By Lianne Kolirin, CNN

London (CNN) — Will it be a picture that reflects the pristine beauty of the natural world, or one that shows the potentially devastating impact of human beings on their surroundings?

The choice is yours, as fans of wildlife photography around the world are being urged to vote for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s People’s Choice Award.

As always, the prestigious contest has a section that it throws open to the public, with the chance to vote from a selection of 25 outstanding images.

These were chosen by the Natural History Museum in London – which hosts the overall exhibition – and an international judging panel. They narrowed the field down from a huge 49,957 entries, sent in from 95 different countries

The public can now vote for their favorites online, choosing from a selection that includes a pair of seemingly kissing hares, a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg and an upright grizzly bear in a shimmering lake.

Also featured are an Adélie penguin approaching an emperor penguin and its chick, and a striking image of a rail of clothing fashioned from some of the world’s most endangered big cats.

Other shots that highlight the negative impact of man on his surroundings include a young fox dining on an overflowing trash can in London and a male elephant striding through a heap of rubbish.

Voting is open online until January 31. The winner and top four images will be announced in February and displayed online, as well as in the in-person exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

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