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A picture of a dolphin surfing off the coast of Northern Ireland has won the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award.

The image, entitled In the Living Room, was taken by George Karbus by diving underneath the water and waiting for the creature to swim past.

Speaking about his winning picture, Karbus said: "The photograph was taken in the most intimidating and surf-heavy spot on the Coast of Northern Ireland. I encountered this playful dolphin that suddenly started to surf the deep tube inside the waves.

"Each time the dolphin got into the wave, I dived underneath, held my breath and waited for the moment when he would swish through a silver barrel close enough to my lens. Water visibility is always very limited in Ireland, and I was very lucky to get a shot like this."

Other winners include a shocked hare, a cuttlefish eye and a badger at night. The images will now be put in an exhibition that will tour the UK, launching at the Mall Galleries in London.

Chris Packham, naturalist and TV presenter, said: "These stunning images by so many talented photographers highlight the diversity, breadth and beauty of our precious wildlife and the need to protect their habitats.

"The British Wildlife Photography Awards are without doubt one of the most important photography awards in the UK. Anything that raises the public's awareness of the importance to conserve and protect British wildlife is very close to my heart and these awards afford a spectacular insight into the habitat and behaviour of our British wildlife. From blue tits to badgers, never has Britain's wildlife looked more beautiful."

Karbus received a £5,000 cash prize for his image, while the category winners received a Canon PowerShot S110 Camera and Canon PIXMA PRO 10 Printer.

Mark Boyd, Youth Manager at the RSPB, said "Children and young people astounded us with the quality and range of their entries. We had everything from approachable garden insects to wary mountain birds; from detailed close-ups to evocative wildlife landscapes; from pictures that made us think to pictures that made us gasp.

"It's a real delight to be involved in this competition and to see how much pleasure youngsters obviously gain from going outside and getting close to nature".