A tiny polar bear cub peeks out from under mom's forelegs.

Daisy Gilardini is one of the wildlife photographers contributing to the New Big 5 project. Through her photography, she works as an ambassador on behalf of wildlife, helping to raise awareness of the serious issues they face on a daily basis.

© Daisy Gilardini

5/17/2021 12:27:22 PM

Polar Bears Voted One of the New Big 5

Wildlife enthusiasts from around the world chose the polar bear as one of the top five animals for wildlife photography—with elephants, gorillas, tigers, and lions rounding out the list. More than 50,000 votes were cast for favorite animals to photograph (or see in photographs) via the New Big 5 website over the course of a year.

Created by British photographer Graeme Green, the aim of the New Big 5 project is to raise awareness about the crisis facing the world’s wildlife from threats including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and climate warming.

“We now have the results of the New Big 5 project,” said Dr. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace. “These five 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.”

Two adult male polar bears play-wrestle in willows dusted by snow.Photo © Dave Sandford.

The initiative brought together more than 250 of the world’s wildlife photographers, conservationists, and wildlife charities, including Polar Bears International. Among the photographers contributing images of polar bears to the New Big 5 project were Dave Sandford, Daisy Gilardini, Jenny Wong, Thomas Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and more.

“I’m so excited polar bears are part of the New Big 5,” said Krista Wright, executive director of Polar Bears International. “They’re keenly intelligent and endlessly fascinating to photograph and watch. Polar bears are also a powerful symbol of sea ice loss from global climate warming and a poignant messenger on the urgent need to act."

“Wildlife around the world will benefit from this project," she added, "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.”

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