Sumatran tiger, Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Steve Winter /New Big 5 Project
Sumatran tiger, Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Steve Winter /New Big 5 Project

Why it’s time for a new ‘Big Five’

Throughout history they have been hunted, poached and exploited.

Now, an international initiative backed by some of the word's leading photographers and most famous conservationists, is aiming to redefine the "Big Five".

Many of us had heard the term "Big Five" but are not aware of its disturbing origins.

In colonial times, the old Big 5 was declared as the toughest group of animals in Africa for hunters to shoot and kill: leopards, lions, buffaloes, rhinos and elephants.

Sumatran tiger, Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Steve Winter /New Big 5 Project
Sumatran tiger, Sumatra, Indonesia. Picture: Steve Winter /New Big 5 Project

Organisers behind the New Big 5 project are focused on creating a new selection based on shooing with a camera, not a gun.

Animal lovers can vote for their favourite wildlife images by heading to the New Big Five website.

Female Sumatran Orangutan in rainforests of Gunung Leuser National Park, northern Sumat. Picture: Craig Jones /New Big 5 Project
Female Sumatran Orangutan in rainforests of Gunung Leuser National Park, northern Sumat. Picture: Craig Jones /New Big 5 Project

The top five animals chosen will be known as the New Big Five.

From a sad-eyed orang-utan in Indonesia to cuddling polar bears in Canada, the images on show are deeply moving.

Other shots show a up-close view of a chimpanzee on the move in Uganda and elephants wallowing in a dust bath in Kenya.

Elephant's dust bath in west Tsavo, Kenya. Picture: Piper Mackay /New Big 5 Project
Elephant's dust bath in west Tsavo, Kenya. Picture: Piper Mackay /New Big 5 Project

Dr Jane Goodall, the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, has given the project her support.

"What a great project the New Big 5 is," she said.

"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."

To vote, and to view a selection of stunning images, go to www.newbig5.com

Originally published as Why it's time for a new 'Big Five'

Polar bears, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Picture: Daisy Gilardini /New Big 5 Project
Polar bears, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada. Picture: Daisy Gilardini /New Big 5 Project
Chimp in Kibale National Forest, Uganda. Picture: Richard Peters /New Big 5 Project
Chimp in Kibale National Forest, Uganda. Picture: Richard Peters /New Big 5 Project
Cape pangolin, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Picture: Jen Guyton /New Big 5 Project
Cape pangolin, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Picture: Jen Guyton /New Big 5 Project


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