The concept of the Big Five comes from trophy hunting. The term was coined by colonists in Africa to describe the most challenging animals to hunt on foot, namely buffalos, lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos. Today, the animals that make up the Big Five remain the same, but the term is most often associated with the fauna travelers to Africa hope to see during a safari.
But because there are amazing animals to be seen beyond Africa, and because all animals currently living on this planet need attention and protection, not hunting, an initiative to expand the meaning of the Big Five is underway.
The New Big 5 project aims to bring attention to animals from all over the world who are worthy of our fascination, admiration, observation, and protection at a time when more than a million species are at risk of extinction.
According to the New Big 5 project’s website, it’s an “international initiative to create a New Big 5 (#NewBig5) of wildlife: the Big 5 of photography, not hunting. Shooting with a camera, not a gun. It’s a celebration of wildlife and wildlife photography. We’re asking people around the world to VOTE for the 5 animals they want to be included in the New Big 5 of Wildlife Photography.”
Animal lovers can vote for the animals they would like to see included in the New Big 5 from a list of 46 species, including the koala, lemur, panda, crocodile, meerkat, tapir, zebra, and more.
The project is supported by some of the world’s leading conservationists, such as Jane Goodall; photographers, including Steve McCurry and Daisy Gilardini; and artists from around the world.