Wildlife Photographers Unite in New Book To Highlight Beauty of Endangered Animals

The New Big 5 by Graeme Green

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A decade ago, British photographer Graeme Green was on assignment in Africa when he stumbled upon an idea to promote the conservation of wildlife. Big 5” was a phrase once used by big-game hunters to describe the African wildlife that was the most difficult to track and kill. Green wanted to transform the meaning, and instead of shooting these animals with guns, they'd be shot with cameras in an effort to educate the public.

Over the course of many years, Green spoke with fellow wildlife photographers about his concept and, in 2020, the project was launched. The Big 5 would no longer be associated with the end of life, but with a celebration of the animals that are most at risk on our planet. A public vote was held to decide what The New Big 5 would be, with the elephant, polar bear, lion, gorilla, and tiger coming out on top.

The original project saw leading photographers like Ami Vitale, Cristina Mittermeier, Thomas Vijayan, and many more lending their images to highlight the threats that endangered species are currently facing. Now, Green is releasing a book, The New Big 5, in order to continue his mission of helping the animals that need it the most.

Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda

Mountain gorilla at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Status: Endangered. (Photo: Daryl and Sharna Balfour / New Big 5)

The New Big 5 project did a great job at highlighting endangered species and threats facing animals around the world,” Green shares. “It was always my hope to produce a book—the next step in that mission. Looking at the photos in this book is a powerful reminder of the incredible beauty and diversity of the natural world, and what we stand to lose if we don't take urgent action to protect wildlife and the planet.”

The book contains 226 incredible portraits of wildlife from 146 photographers, as well as text and essays from the world's foremost conservationists, including Jane Goodall.

“I hope the photos in this The New Big 5 book will lead people into the wonderful worlds of these iconic species and encourage them to explore the lives of so many other fascinating creatures, many of which are also endangered,” says Dr. Goodall. “Then, perhaps, other people will become involved in helping to create a world where wildlife can flourish for future generations to enjoy. I believe we have a window of time during which we can start to heal some of the harm we have inflicted on the natural world and slow down the heating of the planet. But only if we get together and take action now.”

The New Big 5: A Global Photography Project For Endangered Wildlife by Graeme Green is out now, available at Insight Editions.com, Amazon, and independent bookshops, with a foreword by Paula Kahumbu and an afterword by Jane Goodall.

In 2020, photographer Graeme Green launched The New Big 5, a project to highlight endangered species around the globe.

Bengal Tiger and a Butterfly

Bengal tiger at Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in India. Status: Endangered. (Photo: Sujuaan Gasim / New Big 5)

African elephant baby in Tanzania

African elephant at Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Status: Endangered. (Photo: Karine Aigner / New Big 5)

He involved hundreds of photographers, who used their skills to tell the stories of these vulnerable animals.

Polar Bear Mother and Cubs in Canada

Polar bear at Wapusk National Park in Canada. Status: Vulnerable. (Photo: Hao Jiang / New Big 5)

Iberian Lynx Cub

Iberian lynx at Ciudad Real in Spain. Status: Endangered. (Photo: Antonio Liebana / New Big 5)

The New Big 5: A Global Photography Project for Endangered Wildlife is a book with 226 stunning animal portraits.

Gharial in the water with gharial babies

Gharial at National Chambal Sanctuary in India. Status: Critically Endangered. (Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee / New Big 5)

Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys on a Tree

Golden snub-nosed monkey at Foping National Reserve in China. Status: Endangered. (Photo: Qiang Zhang / New Big 5)

It also contains texts and essays from renowned scientists and conservationists like Jane Goodall.

African Lions at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

African Lions at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Status: Vulnerable. (Photo: Vicki Jauron / New Big 5)

Spotted Torrent Frog at Santa Barbara Park in Ecuador.

Spotted Torrent Frog at Santa Barbara Park in Ecuador. Status: Critically Endangered. (Photo: Lucas Bustamante / New Big 5)

The New Big 5: Bookshop | Amazon | Insight Editions | Instagram | Facebook
Graeme Green: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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