A teenager from Bradford on Avon has won an award with his photo of a badger in the prestigious RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2023.

The stunning photo was entered by teenager Chris Wardell from Bradford on Avon and shows a backlit badger. It gained him the runner-up award in the ‘16-18’ category of the annual photographic competition.

It took the dedicated 17-year-old nearly seven hours overnight in the freezing cold to get the perfect shot.

Chris said: “I like monitoring and learning about wildlife in my local area and I’ve had some really special encounters - in my opinion anyone who isn’t interested in wildlife is missing out.”

From kingfishers to otters, foxes, beavers and badgers, Chris has spent hours photographing wildlife around Bradford on Avon and beyond.

He added: “I have a friend from Bath who said he had badgers visiting his garden at night so I set up the camera to get a backlit shot and asked my friend to crawl around on all fours first so I could set up the shot - which made for some hilarious pictures!

“Then I camped out from 10pm until 4.45am and finally got the perfect photo. Even though it was summer, it was a really windy and cold night and I was freezing.

“In the morning, I went to photograph peregrine falcons and kingfishers so that was one of the best days I’ve ever had.”

Chris explained that he first picked up a camera when he was just six years old but it was only in the last couple of years that he’s been “putting the hours in”.

He has invested many hours monitoring beavers and donning waders to take pictures of kingfishers, all while revising for his A-levels in Biology, Photography and Geography.

Chris added: “It’s fascinating to follow animals through the seasons, I want to help preserve wildlife which is why I do photography in the first place.

“And I really do get a rush from it. It’s also a good escape from the rest of life, as it’s just you, the animal, and the camera.”

Every year, the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards invites young people aged 18 years and under to capture the animal kingdom on a camera or a mobile device.

Winners were announced at an award ceremony at the Tower of London hosted by TV wildlife presenter and RSPCA president Chris Packham.

Judge and awards host, Chris Packham, said: “Seeing children and young people express their connection to the natural world through these photographs is always so heartening to see, and this year I was blown away by how many superb photographs we received for the competition.”