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Saving Species Through the Power of Photography

The interaction of animals with their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. That's why National Geographic, along with photographer Joel Sartore, is dedicated to finding solutions to save them.

With your support, we’re documenting every species in human care to inspire people to care and help protect these animals. You’re also helping fund on-the-ground conservation projects focused on those species in most critical need of protection, as well as education programs that are fostering a real connection with, and appreciation for, our fellow creatures.

This multiyear effort will create intimate portraits of an estimated 15,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Once completed, Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence, and a powerful testament to the importance of saving them.

Picture of Joel Sartore

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER JOEL SARTORE

“I want people to care, to fall in love, and to take action.”

Photo Ark founder and National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has visited 50 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity. To date, he has completed intimate portraits of more than 10,000 species.

No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect. The results are portraits that are not just stunningly beautiful, but also intimate and moving. 

Learn more about Joel Sartore

 

Creating Portraits of Hope

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2006. Since then, he has visited 50 countries in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity.

To date, Joel has completed portraits of more than 10,000 species, most photographed on either a plain black or white background. No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect. The results are portraits that are not just stunningly beautiful, but also intimate and moving. “It’s the eye contact that moves people,” Sartore says of the animals’ expressions. “It engages … feelings of compassion and a desire to help.”


On-the-Ground Conservation

The National Geographic Photo Ark supports on-the-ground conservation projects to help protect and save species in decline. Much-needed funding and attention is provided to endangered species (including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish) that we have a real chance of helping, and which do not currently have a sustained effort from others to protect them. 

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Inspiring Learning and Action

The National Geographic Photo Ark is teaching people of all ages about our planet’s amazing biodiversity and fostering a real human connection to Earth’s animals. The project engages students in the classroom through free educational materials and activities, and inspires the public through special exhibitions and events around the world. An interactive digital experience allows learners to explore each animal in the collection and share information about endangered species with their friends. 

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Help Us Save Wildlife

Thousands of species are at risk and time is running out. Join National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore as he leads the Photo Ark project to document our planet’s biodiversity and find innovative solutions to help save threatened species and protect their critical habitats.

Follow Photo Ark

Keep up with Photo Ark and Joel Sartore by following the project on Facebook and Instagram.