National Geographic's Top 20 Photos Taken in 2016

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National Geographic, one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions has long established itself as one of the leading sources when it comes to impressive photos not just of nature, but of humanity as a whole and now that 2016 is coming to a close they've put together a list of their top 52 images taken this year.

Impressive as always the list has been compiled from 91 photographers, 107 stories and a staggering 2.2 million photos. Listicles aren't always the greatest, but when they're published by National Geographic you're rarely ever left disappointed. Below we've compiled a list of out 20 favourites but you can view the full list here.

1. 16-year-old giant panda Ye gets photographed lazing around inside China's Wolong Nature Reserve.

AMI VITALE

AMI VITALE

2. A group of rhinos on a South African ranch have their horns trimmed in the hopes that selling them will be legalised. Unlike elephant ivory, rhino horn will grow back when cut properly.

BRENT STIRTON

BRENT STIRTON

3. Silverside fish group together for protection from predators, swirling through mangroves and coral reefs near to Cuba.

DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES

DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES

4. A three-week-old calve of the Cody elk follows its mother up a 4,600-foot slope during migration towards Southeastern Yellowstone.

JOE RIIS

JOE RIIS

5. Tracking changes in sea ice the Norwegian research vessel Lance drifts with the ice for more than five month in a rare voyage from arctic winter and into spring.

NICK COBBING

NICK COBBING

6. Rooftoppers Kirill Vselensky and Dima Balashov perch on a cornice in Moscow to get the perfect shot.

GERD LUDWIG

GERD LUDWIG

7. Blood drips from the beak of a Rüppell’s vulture.

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

8. A composite photo of day-to-night made from 1,036 images showing a mountainside in Yosemite National Park.

STEPHEN WILKES

STEPHEN WILKES

9. A grizzly bear defends a buffalo carcass from ravens in Grand Teton National Park.

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

10. Thermophiles (microbes) living inside the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone give it a vibrant appearance.

MICHAEL NICHOLS

MICHAEL NICHOLS

11. Space engineer Pablo de León tests a space suit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center that's destined for Mars.

PHILLIP TOLEDANO

PHILLIP TOLEDANO

12. Spider Monkeys make great pets for the indigenous people of Peru's Manú forest.

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

13. Steven Donovan performing a flip into a pool at Glacier National Park.

COREY ARNOLD

COREY ARNOLD

14. Denali’s 92-mile-long Park Road in Alaska, which is only open five days a year to private vehicles, is blocked by a bear-jam.

AARON HUEY

AARON HUEY

15. When the sun goes down, the capital of Taiwan becomes a sea of vibrant lights.

DINA LITOVSKY

DINA LITOVSKY

16. A saddleback tamarin holds onto to a young girl called Yoina Mameria Nontsotega as she takes a dip in the Yomibato River, located inside Peru’s Manú National Park.

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

17. A diver stands next to a tiger shark in the Bahamas.

BRIAN SKERRY

BRIAN SKERRY

18. In search of the fruit from a strangler fig a Bornean Orangutan climbs a tree 100 feet above the ground.

TIM LAMAN

TIM LAMAN

19. Sunset at the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi.

VINCENT J. MUSI

VINCENT J. MUSI

20. Sandhill cranes arrive at the Platte River in Nebraska to be met by a storm.

RANDY OLSONREAD

RANDY OLSONREAD

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