The Big5 of Europe

08 January 2014 | News story

The Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino are the well known 'Big Five' animals of Africa. They represent the greatest wild animal species of the continent, being the biggest, most impressive and most fascinating. Now, it is time to determine Europe's Big Five and this is the aim of the Flemish TV show The Big5 of Europe

Chris Dusauchoit, and biologists Iwan Lewylle and Frederik Thoelen, travelled through Europe’s unspoiled nature to define which five wild animals are so powerful and fierce that they deserve representing Europe’s Big Five.

Starting from a long list of 15 candidates, the team scored each animal on four criteria: appearance, behaviour, rareness and the emotions it triggers. They observed the animals in their natural ranges and talked with local people about the relationships they have with them. After a long journey through Finland, Spain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the team came back with nine possible candidates.

To make the final decision about the five most impressive animals in Europe, the three hosts of the show worked with a team of wildlife experts including Luigi Boitani and John Linnell of IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE). Both experts are also working on a European Commission funded IUCN project on large carnivores, which are candidates for the Big Five.

This adventurous mission is supported by European President Herman Van Rompuy who will appear during the fifth and last episode of the show, when the Big Five of Europe will be revealed.

The show is being broadcasted from 11 January until 8 February every Saturday at 8:10 pm on the één channel.