The New Big 5 is an international wildlife conservation initiative that created a New Big 5 (#NewBig5) of wildlife: the Big 5 of photography, not hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun.

The old big 5 was based on the most difficult animals in Africa for hunters to shoot and kill. In April 2022, we asked wildlife lovers from around the world to vote for their five favourite animals to photograph or see in photographs.

Created by British photographer Graeme Green, the project was a celebration of wildlife and wildlife photography but with a serious mission: to raise awareness about the crisis facing the world’s wildlife, including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and climate change.

More than 350 global photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities came together to support the project, including Jane Goodall, Save The Elephants, Marsel van Oosten, Ami Vitale, Paula Kahumbu, Nick Brandt, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Packham, Paul Nicklen, Polar Bears International, Daisy Gilardini, Conservation International, Brent Stirton, Art Wolfe, Save The Rhino, Gurcharan Roopra, Ewaso Lions, Steve Winter, Panthera, Xi Zhinong, Greenpeace, Thomas Mangelsen, Virginia McKenna, Snow Leopard Trust, Suzi Eszterhas, Shaaz Jung, IFAW, Kaddu Sebunya, Usha Harish, Lion Recovery Fund, Joanna Lumley, Orangutan Foundation, Marina Cano, WildAid, The Ellen Fund, Moby, Save Pangolins…

The project was widely covered by global TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, BBC, CNN, The Times, Sky News, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Forbes, The New Daily, Travel Africa, Culture Trip, i Paper, Evening Standard, The Herald Sun, The Daily Mail, The East African, Lonely Planet, Geographical, France24, My Modern Met, South China Morning Post

The results for the animals in the New Big 5, announced in April 2023, were elephant, polar bear, lion, gorilla and tiger.

Jane Goodall: “We now have the results of the New Big 5 project. These 5 animals – elephants, polar bears, gorillas, tigers and lions – are such beautiful and remarkable species, and are wonderful ambassadors for the world’s wildlife, from iconic species to little-known frogs, lizards, fish and birds. So many face threats to their survival from issues such as poaching, habitat loss and climate change. A million species are at risk of extinction. If we work together, we can stop this happening. There is always hope. Change is possible if we each play our part.”

Each of the species in the New Big 5 face severe threats to their existence and are listed by the IUCN either as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. The project worked to highlight the beauty and importance of all wildlife, from popular giants to unsung heroes.

Photos at top of page: Marsel van Oosten (left), Graeme Green (right).


THE NEW BIG 5 – BOOK

A book, The New Big 5: A Global Photography Project for Endangered Wildlife by Graeme Green, is available from InsightEditions.com, Simon & Schuster, Bookshop.org and Amazon. Foreword by Paula Kahumbu. Afterword by Jane Goodall.

The book contains 226 wildlife photos of endangered species from 146 globally renowned photographers, including Marsel van Oosten, Ami Vitale, Paul Nicklen, Steve McCurry, Karine Aigner, Brian Skerry, Beverly Joubert, Gurcharan Roopra, Marina Cano, Thomas Mangelsen, Suzi Eszterhas, Paul Hilton, Cristina Mittermeier, Gael R. Vande weghe, Daisy Gilardini, Steve Winter, Art Wolfe,  Will Burrard-Lucas, David Lloyd, Jonathan and Angela Scott, Thomas Vijayan, Tony Wu and more.

The book also includes original essays from conservationists, including Tara Stoinski (Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund), Krista Wright (Polar Bears International), Anish Andheria (Wildlife Conservation Trust), and Wes Sechrest (Re:wild).


THE NEW BIG 5 WEBSITE

The New Big 5 website was set up as “a platform to bring like-minded people together and create a wave of change,” with articles, interviews, podcasts, photo galleries and free education packs highlighting issues threatening the world’s wildlife and exploring solutions, such as rewilding, cutting edge technology and community projects – examples below.

As the project is no longer being actively worked on, we’ve recently taken most of this content offline now.

THANK YOU

The New Big 5 project is grateful to have the support of international photographers, conservationists, wildlife charities and other organisations.

Photographers

Ami Vitale · Marsel van Oosten · Nick Brandt · Steve Winter · Paul Nicklen · Cristina Mittermeier · Brent Stirton · Shaaz Jung · Jonathan Scott · Angela Scott · Federico Veronesi · Thomas Vijayan · Art Wolfe · Daisy Gilardini · Thomas D. Mangelsen · Andy Mann · Karine Aigner · Greg du Toit · Tim Laman · Frans Lanting · Florian Ledoux · Will Burrard-Lucas · Gurcharan Roopra · Christian Ziegler · Lucas Bustamante · Marina Cano · Mark Carwardine · Vladimir Cech, Jr. · Charlie Hamilton James · Jo-Anne McArthur · Gaël R. Vande weghe · Graeme Green · Marcus Westberg · Beverly Joubert · Dereck Joubert · James Balog · Shogo Asao · Joan de la Malla · Chris Fallows · Nelis Wolmarans · Xi Zhinong · Bertie Gregory · Jasper Doest · Hao Jiang · Sandesh Kadur · William Fortescue · Usha Harish · Aimee Jan · Majed Alzaabi · Clay Bolt · Luciano Candisani · Celina Chien · Priyanshi Bachhawat Nahata · Carole Deschuymere · Ronan Donovan · Suzi Eszterhas · Marco Gaiotti · Magnus Lundgren · Graeme Purdy · Kevin Morgans · Andy Parkinson · Jim Richardson · David Lloyd · Lance van de Vyver · Marco Ronconi · Yaron Schmid · Jen Guyton · Drew Hamilton · Staffan Widstrand · Andrew Schoeman · Roeselien Raimond · Robin Moore · Anette Mossbacher · Dhritiman Mukherjee · Alex Mustard · Tom Shlesinger · Brian Skerry · Anton Sorokin · Aishwarya Sridhar · Dave Sandford · Chris Schmid · Martin Gregus · Shane Gross · Xiaoyun Luo · Piper Mackay · Sebastian Kennerknecht · Christophe Courteau · Marlon du Toit · Neville Ngomane · Jonathan Kaelo · Kathleen Vanoppen · Ranjan Ramchandani · Annabelle Averty · Gabby Salazar · Lara Jackson · Nili Mahendra Gudhka · Brian W. Matthews · Steve McCurry · Shivang Mehta · Karabo LeBronpeter Moilwa · Michel Zoghzoghi · Kiliii Yuyan · Craig Jones · Michel Ghatan · Gunjan Menon · Amy Gulick · Latika Nath · Mark Edward Harris · Paul Hilton · Heath Holden · Joshua Holko · Richard I’Anson · Tom Svensson · Michael Tweddle · Hilary Hann · Harman Singh Heer · Bjorn Persson · Santhosh Krishnan · Antonio Liebana · Ole J. Liodden · Qingshun Liu · Pinkesh C. Tanna · Victor Tyakht · Michelle Valberg · Gerda van Schalkwyk · Willie van Schalkwyk · Shannon Wild · Jenny Wong · Tony Wu · Ramakrishnan Aiyaswamy · Joel Sartore · Sascha Fonseca · Ryan Francis · Sujuaan Gasim · Françoise Gervais · Sergio Pitamitz · Sohail Inzaman ·Seyms Brugger · Charlie Lynam · Stephanie Klarmann · Richard Garvey-Williams · Scott Trageser · Berndt Weissenbacher · Qiang Zhang · Jono Allen · Irene Amiet · Noppadol Paothong · Paul Goldstein · Sergey Gorshkov · Hannes Lochner · Doug Allan · Jaymi Heimbuch · Alison Buttigieg ·  Sudhir Shivaram · Xuedong Bai · Daryl Balfour · Sharna Balfour · Alessandro Beconi · Emanuele Biggi · Tamara Blazquez Haik · Mia Collis · Claudio Contreras Koob · Jaime Culebras · Pedro Jarque Krebs · Laurent Baheux ·  Richard Ladkani · Faraaz Abdool · Tami Walker · Martin Steenhaut · Rathika Ramasamy · Hilary Hann · Peter Cairns · Jon Kasbe · Sergio Pitamitz · Sohail Inzaman · Elie Wolf · Teeku Patel · Richard Peters · Sergio Pitamitz · Scott Portelli · Shibu Preman · Scott Ramsay · Jay Roode · Jenny E. Ross · Rahul Sachdev · Nick Kanakis · Ketan Khambhatta · Aarzoo Khurana · Clement Kiragu · Stephanie-Emmy Klarmann · Dmitry Kokh · Vicki Jauron · Sara Jenner · Rupayan Datta · Mangesh R. Desai · Molly Ferrill · Angel Fitor · Tim Flach · Xingchao Zhu…

Wildlife Ambassadors

Jane Goodall · Djimon Hounsou · Paula Kahumbu · Kristine Tompkins · Joanna Lumley · Virginia McKenna · Kaddu Sebunya · Levison Wood · Iain Douglas-Hamilton · Eugenio Derbez · M Sanjayan · Jennifer Morgan · Moby · Carlos Nobre · Thandiwe Mweetwa · Angela Sheldrick · Dr Tara Stoinski · Farwiza Farhan · Kevin Richardson · Jamie Joseph · Elizabeth Tolu Ojo · Ella Eyre · Dr Laurie Marker · Geeta Seshamani · Angelababy · Cathy Dean · Ben Fogle · Dr Shivani Bhalla · Dickson Kaelo · Jeff Flocken · Nestor Allgas · Hans Ngoteya · Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka · Lameck Mkuburo · Trang Nguyen · Dr Jamartin Sihite · Irene Amoke · Valmik Thapar · Kaluki Paul Mutuku · Pavan Sukhdev · Ginger Cassady · Dominique Bikaba · Krista Wright · Vivek Menon · Dr Charudutt Mishra · Daniel Ole Sopia · Amy Dickman · Peter Lindsey · Helen Buckland · Dr Johan Marais · Dominique Gonçalves · Simon Clinton · Leif Cocks · Carla Morrison · Dr Zoavina Randriana · Christine Macsween · Ashley Leiman · David Kabambo · Keri Parker · Sharon Johnson · Stephanie Fennessy · CeCe Sieffert · Lucía Rodríguez Valverde · Poonam Dhanwatey · Frederic Launay · Tania Baltazar · Jackson Mbeke · Deborah Tabart · Suzanne Braden · Anna Tolan · Thomas Lovejoy · Vincent Opyene.

Charities / Organisations: Save The Elephants · The Jane Goodall Institute · Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund · Greenpeace · Saving The Wild · Conservation International · African Wildlife Foundation · Polar Bears International · Lion Recovery Fund · Wildlife Direct · Born Free Foundation · WildAid · Youth4Nature · World Animal Protection · Wildlife Trust Of India · Cheetah Conservation Fund · International Union for Conservation of Nature · Save The Rhino International · One Earth · Tanzanian Elephant Foundation · Snow Leopard Trust · Rewilding Europe · Friends Of The Earth · Giraffe Conservation Foundation · Strong Roots Congo · Humane Society International · International Fund for Animal Welfare · Defenders Of Wildlife · Rainforest Action Network · Save Pangolins · World Conservation Society · Population Matters · ALU School of Wildlife Conservation · LionAid · 350 · BOS Foundation · Wildlife SOS · Kevin Richardson Foundation · HAkA · Save Wild Tigers · Galapagos Conservation Trust · Sumatran Orangutan Society · Conservation Through Public Health · Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association · Gorilla Doctors · The Orangutan Project · Neotropical Primate Conservation · Lemur Conservation Network · Landscape and Conservation Mentors Organization · Zambian Carnivore Project · Tompkins Conservation · Peace For Conservation · Ewaso Lions · Sheldrick Wildlife Trust · Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi · Panthera · Saving The Survivors · WWF · Orangutan Foundation · Kenya Wildlife Trust · TRACT · Pandas International · Grace Gorillas · International Rhino Foundation · Save The Koala · PETA · Chipembele · Gorongosa National Park · Natural Resource Conservation Network · The Vegan Society · Ruaha Carnivore Project · Madagascar Dog Initiative · Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association.

Elephant photo at top of page: Marsel van Oosten


The New Big 5 initiative is a beautiful, poignant reminder that all of nature and all of life is threatened on this planet. We are on this planet together. We must all do everything we can to care for the plants and creatures that inhabit the Earth. Our future happiness depends on all of them.

Ami Vitale

Photographer

What a great project the New Big 5 is. 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.

Jane Goodall

The Jane Goodall Institute

I’m excited about the New Big 5. It says something positive about our world that people are now more interested in photographing wildlife than killing it. We have a long way to go in wildlife conservation. I hope this project can bring more attention to the many threats that animals face.

Tim Laman

Photographer

Wildlife around the world can benefit from the New Big 5, from the inspiration and wonder generated by photographs of amazing animals to the passion of people working to preserve at-risk species around the globe.

Krista Wright

Polar Bears International

The New Big 5 is a brilliant idea. A Big 5 from the photographic point of view is one more brick in a wall that we’re constructing to save many of the creatures around the Earth. It’s critical that we act together to protect the world’s wildlife.

Art Wolfe

Photographer

The original Big 5 were selected by trophy hunters as the species they’d most like to hang on their walls. Society has changed and trophy hunting is on the way out – thank goodness. The New Big 5 is a wonderful project that’s about celebrating life, not death.

Virginia McKenna

Born Free Foundation

I love the idea of a New Big 5 of wildlife photography. The original Big 5 were the most prized trophies of the big game hunters in Africa. Now we have the opportunity to respect wildlife for reasons other than as targets of our cruel games, and atone for our violence by pouring love, admiration and respect into a new understanding of a Big 5

Paula Kahumbu

CEO, Wildlife Direct

So many of us are out there risking our lives to save elephants and rhinos from poaching, so the ‘Big 5’, which associates wildlife with something as archaic as hunting, feels like it should have been squashed a long time ago. Instead, we should be celebrating the extraordinary but vanishing species found across the globe. That’s what makes the New Big 5 so powerful: it’s a platform to bring like-minded people together and create a wave of change.

Jamie Joseph

Founder, Saving The Wild

I really like the idea of a New Big 5. Photography is an art and a great way to celebrate animals. How do you tell the story of wildlife? How do you get a billion people to see mountain gorillas, other than photography? I’m a big fan of photography. I love the cause of photography. Photography is a bedrock for conservation in Africa.

Kaddu Sebunya

CEO, African Wildlife Foundation