The ‘Big 5’ is an old term used by trophy hunters in Africa for the five most prized and dangerous animals to shoot and kill: elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, Cape Buffalo and lion. The New Big 5 project has a better idea: to create a New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography, rather than hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun.
More than 250 of the world’s wildlife photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities have come together to support this international initiative, including Jane Goodall, Pavan Sukhdev (WWF), Kaddu Sebunya (AWF), Save The Elephants, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Polar Bears International, The Ellen Fund, Orangutan Foundation, IUCN and many more.
Diversity on race and gender was a key part of the project, with more than 120 renowned male and female supporting photographers from Kenya, Japan, Peru, USA, Lebanon, France, India, Rwanda, UK, Australia...as well as actors, musicians and famous wildlife supporters, including Djimon Hounsou, Chris Packham, Eugenio Derbez, Levison Wood, Carla Morrison and Joanna Lumley.
Created by British photographer Graeme Green, the project aims to raise awareness about the crisis facing the world’s wildlife from threats including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and climate change. Since launching in April 2020, the New Big 5 website has received more than 50,000 votes from wildlife lovers around the world for their favourite animals to photograph and see in photos, to be included.
The results of the year-long global vote for the five animals in the 'New Big 5' of wildlife photography are:
ELEPHANT · POLAR BEAR · GORILLA · TIGER · LION
All five animals are keystone species, essential to the balance of nature in their habitats, biodiverse ecosystems and the survival of other species. Each species is vital to the health of the planet and to our future, said Graeme Green, the founder of New Big 5. “The five animals that wildlife lovers around the world have voted to include in the New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography - elephants, gorillas, tigers, lions and polar bears - are not just some of the most beautiful, incredible animals on the planet. All five also face serious threats to their existence. The New Big 5 are the tip of the iceberg. They stand for all the creatures on the planet, so many of which are in danger."
The New Big 5 also offers a new "bucket list" for travellers, wildlife lovers and photographers to experience in their lifetime. Tourism funds much of the world’s vital conservation work. The New Big 5 encourages travellers to visit the places where these five animals live, support conservation efforts, and learn about all the wildlife there and the threats they face.