Earth Day and the ‘new Big 5’: 11 moving photos of vanishing wildlife

Despite the urgency of the crisis, there are reasons for hope. Green recalls how in recent decades, two communities whose stories he covered as a journalist – in the Peruvian Amazon and in Chile’s Aysen region – successfully fought off plans by energy companies to construct dams that would have flooded hundreds of square miles of land, displacing people and wildlife.

As Green writes in The New Big 5, “Commercial whaling wiped out 2 million whales in the 19th and 20th Centuries, but, since whaling was banned in 1986, humpback whale populations have recovered in the South Atlantic ocean from just 440 in the 1950s to 25,000 today.West African giraffes plummeted to near-extinction, just 49 left, before Niger’s government and communities rallied.They’re now standing tall at around 600.Siberian tigers, Jamaican rock iguanas, Checkered skipper butterflies, Nassau groupers, sea otters, And Hula painted frogs are among the many other species saved from extinction by people taking action.

The photos in the book help to reinforce the connection between humans and all wildlife. “Every creature deserves to exist,” writes Green. “From bees to blue whales, from tigers to termites, all wildlife is essential to the balance of nature, to healthy ecosystems, and to the future of life on our planet.”

The New Big 5: A Global Photography Project For Endangered Wildlife by Graeme Green is out now (Earth Aware Editions), with a foreword by Paula Kahumbu and an afterword by Jane Goodall.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo