Sita and cub. Michael Nichols /

By Liana Jacob

FIERCE photos from a new book capture the magnificent animals of our natural world on the brink of survival.

Northern spotted owl, Humboldt County, California, 2008. Michael Nichols /

Illustrating the life of photographer, Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols in a new picture-book biography, these fascinating wildlife images show a group of black gorillas dominating the jungle.

Other quirky shots include an eerie photo depicting a red-eyed elephant sliding down a puddle and a tiger tenderly carrying her cub through the forest.

Charging elephant, Dzanga Bai, Central African Republic, 1993. Michael Nichols /

Since 1970 the population of animals like these have declined by a shocking 58 percent.

Author, Melissa Harris, portrays Nichols’ hunger for wildlife the same way his artistic photographs reveal intimate encounters with various wild animals.

Crocodile (camera-trap photograph), Zakouma National Park, Chad, 2006. Michael Nichols /

“As a photographer, Nick has always worked this way: he must feel before he can truly see,” said Melissa.

“In the Serengeti, he makes his way through the Darwinian landscape, sensing and beginning to understand how to convey visually its lifeblood, its ravages, its songs, its laments.

“Nick is a photojournalist working in a time of crisis. Habitat and species are continually threatened by humans—some have already been eradicated, others are beyond the possibility of regeneration if action is not taken soon.”

Mountain gorillas. Michael Nichols /

Nichols is an American journalist and photographer, studied at the University of North Alabama, where he met his mentor Charles Moore, a former Life magazine photographer. He travelled to Tanzania, Africa, in 2012 to document the life of lions in the Serengeti.

He started his photojournalism career in 1979 when he was 27 years old, when he worked for GEO magazine. Three years later he moved on to work with Magnum Photos until 1995.

Giant panda. Michael Nichols /

“Nick approaches his work in this reportorial tradition: he is a photojournalist in the wild. And like other photojournalists in areas of crises, he sheds light on the inner workings of communities, the intrinsic significance—even magnificence—of what’s at stake, and the horrors of the battlefield.”

The Zoological Society of London and WWF conducted an assessment in 2016 that revealed global wildlife populations have fallen by 58 percent since 1970.

The chimpanzee Whiskey. Michael Nichols /

They suggested that if the trend is consistent, two-thirds of the vertebrate population could decline by 2020.

Since 1989 he has published over 30 articles for National Geographic.

Vumbi pride (robot-camera photograph). Michael Nichols /

A Wild Life: A Visual Biography of Photographer Michael Nichols is available on Amazon for £18.36: