Endangered Species Day – May 15, 2020

The New Big 5 project is an international initiative aiming to highlight endangered species and threats to wildlife around the world.

The initiative is supported by Thomas D Mangelsen, Dr Jane Goodall, Ami Vitale, Levison Wood, Nick Brandt, Steve McCurry, Daisy Gilardini, Joanna Lumley, Tim Laman, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Winter, Joanna Lumley, Greg du Toit, Moby, Brent Stirton, Marsel van Oosten, Bertie Gregory, Joanna Lumley, Sandesh Kadur, Jonathan and Angela Scott, Dr Paula Kahumbu, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, …, and more than 100 more of the world’s leading photographers, conservationists, wildlife lovers and charities, including WWF, Save The Elephants, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Saving The Wild, World Animal Protection, African Wildlife Foundation, Polar Bears International, HAkA, Greenpeace…

“Right now is the moment to act. We are facing incredible rates of extinction all around us. But if you’re only guided by that, it’s not going to get you out of bed every day. We have to find other ways to inspire ourselves. There is so much that we can be doing. To sit and do nothing is the worst possible choice.”
Ami Vitale

Elephant's dust bath in west Tsavo, Kenya - Piper Mackay

The New Big 5 project is creating a New Big 5 of wildlife: the Big 5 of photography, not hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun.

People around the world are being asked to VOTE on the New Big 5 website (www.newbig5.com) for the 5 animals they want to be included in the New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography.

Whereas the old big five was based on the five toughest animals in Africa for colonial hunters to shoot and kill, the New Big 5 of wildlife photography will include animals from all over the world, so it could include polar bears, orangutans, tigers, grizzly bears, gorillas, lions, elephants, wolves or others… It will be a new ‘bucket list’ for travellers, photographers and wildlife lovers to see in their lifetimes.

Which animals will make the New Big 5?

“What a great project the New Big 5 is. I wonder what the final choices will be? There are so many incredible animals in our world. Any project that brings attention to animals, so many of whom are threatened or endangered, is truly important.”
Dr Jane Goodall (The Jane Goodall Institute)

The New Big 5 project was created by British wildlife photographer and journalist Graeme Green.

The project has had a massive response from around the world since launching on April 20, with thousands of people voting and sending messages of support from Bhutan to Australia, to the United States. It will run for six months. The results will be announced later in 2020.

Bengal tiger in the woods in Bandhavgarh National Park, India - Thomas Vijayan

In 2020’s difficult times, this is an exciting, positive project. But it has a serious message: the world’s wildlife is in crisis. The next ten years are critical. More than a million species are currently at risk of extinction, from icons to ‘unsung heroes’ and little-known cats, frogs, birds, lizards and other species, each too valuable to lose.

There are only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild. An estimated 55 African elephants per day are still being killed by poachers, one every 26 minutes. West African giraffes are down to just 600. African lions have dropped from 200,000 to 20,000 in just fifty years. Around 200,000 pangolins, the most trafficked mammal in the world, are being killed each year. Ethiopian wolves, Javan rhinos, aye-ayes, Amur leopards, hooded vultures, spider monkeys are all listed as ‘Critically Endangered’.

On the New Big 5 website, there are podcasts and interviews, as well as articles on wildlife issues, from habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade to the impacts of COVID-19.

There is also a FREE educational Fun Pack (www.newbig5.com/educational-fun-pack/) for young people, which can be downloaded from the website. It contains, quizzes, challenges, jokes from comedians (Russell Kane, Milton Jones, Seann Walsh…) and photos by Thomas D Mangelsen and Shannon Wild.

Arctic Fox, Pyramiden, Svalbard, Norway - Marco Gaiotti

The New Big 5 project is supported by photographers from around the world, including United States, Kenya, China, United Kingdom, Peru, Tanzania, Lebanon, Japan, Canada, South Africa, France and Mexico… As well as major international wildlife organisations, the project is working with smaller charities, indigenous groups and community-led projects, including HAkA, Youth4Nature, Strong Roots Congo, Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi and Ewaso Lions.

The project reaches across Wildlife, Conservation, Arts, Photography, Features, Science, Travel & the Environment.

Visit www.newbig5.com for more information and to vote.

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