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The Big Five

This months BBC Wildlife magazines front cover story features , Meet the new Big Five , the world’s favourite species to shoot with a camera. It focuses on a new international initiative to promote the synergy between wildlife photography and conservation. Personally I have never understood “Big game hunting” , the old adage you can photograph an animal thousands of time , but can only shoot it once comes to mind.

Time never stands still ,the Big Five used to refer to the most prized and dangerous animals to shoot and kill during the colonial era game hunts. With the ever changing pressure on our natural world , perhaps it’s fitting and to be expected that the old list , Lion , Elephant , Rhino , Cape Buffalo and Leopard needs updating.

The new Big Five still includes Elephants and Lions. These magnificent creatures are joined by Gorillas , Polar Bears and Tigers. All in decline in the wild and worthy of protection. And in my opinion, conservation doesn’t have to cost money . In fact harness local people to manage the conservation tourism , protect their local species and environment and generate income in the process must be the way forward. One Hunter paying 20,000 dollars for a trophy kill can be replaced by hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

However for myself , I just love my local wildlife . It brings me joy and immense satisfaction to find and photograph local wildlife. It’s one of the reasons we have invested time and money into the hide at the meadow. Protect nature an give it a helping hand and the rewards are there. So my big five selection is totally different.

Anyway , here’s my personal big five ,

The Red Fox , Hedgehog , Brown Rat , Grey Squirrel and Brown Hare.

Ok , granted my choice may not be big in stature, but they are all are local . Do they evoke the same level of feeling as the traditional big five , well yes for me at least . And for me the Hedgehog is my personal favourite .

I guess we would all have a different big five if we’re honest, and that would be great. The more love and respect for more species, that has to be good for nature , the planet and ultimately us .

So one last question , what species would make it into your big five ?

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