10/11/2011 05:21 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2011

Wildlife Photos By Heinrich Van Den Berg

From meandering baboons in South Africa's Kruger National Park to a fierce leopard and elephants drinking water, gripping images of wildlife have been taken across Africa.

Nature photographer Heinrich van den Berg captures animals at their most dramatic moments with these stunning black and white images.

Some 8.7 million unique species live on Earth, but studies show humans have accelerated the rate at which species disappear with hunting, environmental destruction and climate change.

According to WWF, destructive human activities mean the current rate of extinction is at least 100–1,000 times higher than the expected natural rate of extinction. That might explain why nearly one in four mammals worldwide is at risk of extinction, says a 2008 assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Featured in his photography book Shades of Nature, see some images of van den Berg's incredible work below.

Don't miss the breathtaking photos of a crocodile peering his head from the Nile river and a mother giraffe having a nose to nose nuzzle with her calf at the Tala Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

Shades of Nature (CLONED)