Photographer Spends 2 Years Photographing Animals That May Soon Be Extinct, And It Breaks Our Hearts

For most of us, endangered animals are a far-away mystery. British photographer Tim Flach, however, has spent the last two years braving their habitats and documenting the rare animals’ fragile existences. The resulting body of work, Endangered, provides us with an intimate and rare view into the beautiful lives of Earth’s most threatened species and reminds us of everything we should be afraid to lose.

From species we’re all familiar with (polar bearsnow leopard, cheetah) to exotic wild animals we’d only imagine in fantasy films (saiga, Philippine eagle, olm salamander), Flach presents a wide spectrum of biodiversity of endangered species, and sheds light on the unique challenges each animal faces in order to survive. Some have had their numbers cut down by habitat destruction. Others endure more gruesome ordeals, such as hunting, poaching, and being sold into the black market.

Flach has often stated that he aims to reveal in his animal pictures the relationships that connect humans to our wilder counterparts. Staring into the eyes of the animals featured in Endangered, it’s heartbreaking to imagine that any one of them would ever be considered less worthy of life than one of us. Scroll down to see the most stunning pictures of animals from the series, and vote for the ones that took your breath away.

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#1 Polar Bear

#2 Saiga

#3 Hyacinth Macaw

#4 Philippine Eagle

#5 Iberian Lynx

#6 Cheetah With Cubs

#7 Ring Tailed Lemur

#8 African Elephant

#9 Ploughshare Tortoise

#10 Snow Leopard

#11 White Bellied Pangolin

#12 Fireflies

#13 Red Crown Crane

#14 Golden Snub Nosed Monkey

#15 Proboscis Monkey

#16 Shoebill

#17 Northern White Rhinoceros

#18 Red Panda

#19 Hippopotamus

#20 Pied Tamarin

#21 Scallope Hammerhead Aggregation

#22 Blue Throated Macaw

#23 Giant Panda

#24 Western Lowland Gorillas

#25 Egyptian Vulture

#25 Arabian Oryx

#26 Military Macaw

#27 Smooth Fronted Cayman

#28 Scimitar Oryx’s

#29 Beluga Sturgeon

#30 Marine Iguana

#31 Hooded Vulture