Image of mice fighting over crumbs on subway platform wins top wildlife photography award

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(CBS News) – A sensational photo of two mice fighting each other on a train platform inside of London’s subway just won one of the world’s top awards for wildlife photography. Taken by Sam Rowley, the picture titled “Subway Squabble” won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s People Choice Award — an annual competition held by the Natural History Museum in London. 

Sam Rowley caught this photo of two mice fighting over crumbs on a train platform in London’s subway. SAM ROWLEY

According to the museum’s website, Rowley spent five nights for his project, taking his time to capture the photograph in London’s metro system, where an estimated 2 million commuters use it every day. He noticed two mice were running toward small piles of food when the rodents started to get rowdy. In a split second, he snapped a photo of the rodents fighting over tiny crumbs. 

“The tunnels are a desperate place to live if they need to have a boxing match over a tiny little crumb,” Rowley said in a press release.

The photo was submitted into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest and was chosen to be on a shortlist of 25 images, beating out 48,000 other pictures. With more than 28,000 votes, “Subway Squabble” was named winner of the competition. Rowley said he was happy to win the award. 

“It’s been a lifetime dream to succeed in this competition in this way, with such a relatable photo taken in such an everyday environment in my hometown,” Rowley said. “I hope it shows people the unexpected drama found in the most familiar of urban environments.”

Sir Michael Dixon, director of the museum, praised the photograph, saying it “provides a fascinating glimpse into how wildlife functions in a human-dominated environment.”

“The mice’s behavior is sculpted by our daily routine, the transport we use and the food we discard,” Dixon said. “This image reminds us that while we may wander past it every day, humans are inherently intertwined with the nature that is on our doorstep. I hope it inspires people to think about and value this relationship more.” 

The photo can be seen at the museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition until May 31.

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