New Big Five

The New Big Five – pressure on wildlife from visitors starts again when borders reopen


Travellers who love wildlife can create new bucket lists when borders reopen. They can look for a new Big Five group of animals in wild places, from the open savannahs of Africa to sub-zero coastlines in the Arctic.

The original Big Five included the toughest game animals to hunt in Africa that soon became beloved animals on safaris: the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo.

To pivot from the origins in hunting, a new global project takes a revitalised perspective on wildlife with photography – shooting animals with cameras, not guns.

More than 250 photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities are heightening awareness of the wildlife crisis in this New Big Five international initiative. They include renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Conservation International, WildAid and even celebrities like actor Djimon Hounsou and singer Ella Eyre.

After a year-long worldwide poll on the website that garnered more than 50,000 votes, the project unveiled the animals inaugurated as the New Big Five on May 17. They are the elephant, polar bear, gorilla, lion and tiger.

These five are “keystone species”, which means there will be irreversible changes to the planet’s biodiversity if they become extinct. And their existence hangs in a delicate balance.