Endangered Species Day

In honor of Endangered Species Day and in celebration of Saving the Wild’s partnership with ‘New Big 5’ – shooting with a camera not a gun – we’re casting a spotlight on five wildlife photographers who share the joy of being in the company of their favourite animal.

Photo credit: Daisy Gilardini

Daisy Gilardini – Polar Bear

My number one animal to photograph is the polar bear; the king of the Arctic, top of the food chain. They don’t fear anybody. The only enemies are humans and guns.

Polar bear are amazing creatures that can survive extreme temperatures. The mums are super tender with the cubs, and I’m just in love with them. At the right time of the year, you can photograph the mums exiting the maternity den with the cubs, and that is something that is absolutely stunning to witness. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever photographed in my life.

You have these creatures adapting to incredible, extreme conditions: polar bears are facing temperatures that go down to minus 50 celcius. It’s incredible that the colder it is, the more comfortable they seem to be. On a warm day, and I am talking minus 5 Celsius, it’s just too hot. They don’t move because it’s too hot for them. You can really see how they are going to be affected by climate change.

Animals can’t talk to us, but we can be their ambassador and talk to them, and try to protect these veryendangered habitats. Climate change is real, it’s happening now. These creatures really need the attention of the public.”


Photo credit: Beverly Joubert

Beverly Joubert – Rhino

Spending time with rhinos is both emotional and inspiring. I like getting down low on the ground to elevate their stature against the sky. Rhinos need all our attention. Right now, our biggest drive is to reveal their glory and beauty, and also the atrocities being handed out to them. We don’t have the luxury of much time at the rate they are being hunted and poached, chopped down and burned out, so every image stands out, not just as a reminder or record for the future generations, but also as a warning. With rhinos being poached at a rate of one every seven hours, our camera lenses that caress them now may save them later.


Photo credit: Bertie Gregory

Bertie Gregory – Wolf

My favourite animal would have to be the coastal wolf, which you find on the British Columbia coast in Canada and further north. I’ve gone through a lot of pain to try and find coastal wolves. I’ve had some good challenges with them. They can be so, so elusive but on the flip-side, when everything does come together and you get to spend time with them, you see that they lead these secretive, amazing lives.

They live in such a beautiful part of the world, on the British Columbia coast in Canada and further north, so you have temperate rainforest that drops down to the Pacific shoreline. When I think of wolves, I don’t think of an animal that lives on the beach and eats lots of seafood, but I they are amazing animals. I’ve had some good challenges with them. They would have to be my Number One just because the challenge of it and then the reward at the end, if you do manage to find them.


Photo credit: Tim Laman

Tim Laman – Orangutan

“Orangutans come to my mind immediately as my personal favourite. It’s been one of my life-long passion projects documenting them, so I would definitely vote for orangutans.

We are one of their closest relatives. We share 97 per cent of our DNA. The only animals that are slightly more closely related to us are chimpanzees and gorillas, so you can definitely see the incredible connection that we have as great apes.

I like the challenge of photographing orangutans. It’s not an easy species to photograph. It requires long days of following them through the forest, climbing trees sometimes and trying to take some unique images. They is so much interesting behaviour that orangutans do, but they don’t do it that often, so it’s really hard to get a good shot of them doing things like building a nest or using a leaf umbrella or mother-infant interactions and so on.

Having spent many years photographing orangutans, I feel that I still have never captured the perfect shot and there is so much more to do.

I kind of lumped orangutans together but there are definitely three distinct species of orangutans: Sumatran, Bornean, Tapanuli. They are all very worthy subjects and they are all endangered.


Photo credit: Will Burrard-Lucas

Will BurrardLucas – Leopard

For me, leopards are the most beautiful of the big predators. They are also the most elusive and a chance encounter with one gets my pulse racing every time. My current project actually focuses on a melanistic leopard: a black panther. It is the most striking animal imaginable, a creature that is at one with the night. It is the rarest animal I am ever likely to encounter. Photographing it has been the highlight of my career.”