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Photo Ark: Featured Creatures

Learn more about select animals in the Photo Ark then spread the word #SaveTogether

The once robust population of African white-backed vultures, Gyps africanus, has declined by 90 percent in the past few decades.

African White-Backed Vulture  

African white-backed vultures serve an important function in their sub-Saharan ecosystem. However, these once plentiful scavengers are now critically endangered.

Picture of African leopard at the Houston Zoo (1559051)

African Leopard  

The beautiful fur of the African leopard is a source of protection−and vulnerability.

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog  

Habitat loss is a leading threat to animal species. The African wild dog is particularly susceptible to this problem.

An American flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, at Lincoln Children's Zoo.

American Flamingo  

Learn more about the flamingo’s unique adaptations and why its wetland habitats are under threat.

An Amargosa Toad, Bufo nelsoni.

Amphibians at Risk  

A deadly fungus is spreading through amphibian communities around the world.

This is an albino Manchurian hedgehog, Erinaceus amurensis, at Zoo Negara.

Amur Hedgehog  

Amur hedgehogs are found in some parts of eastern Asia. They have sharp, strong quills that they use for defense.

This is an Anastasia Island beach mouse, Peromyscus polionotus phasma, from the wild.

Anastasia Island Beach Mouse  

Peromyscus polionotus phasma is a native of Florida, where it burrows in sand dunes along the barrier island ecosystems of the Atlantic coast, competing with humans eager for development.

This is an endangered antillean manatee, Trichechus manatus, at the Dallas World Aquarium.

Antillean Manatee  

Antillean manatees are closely related to the manatees found along the coast of Florida. Populations of these marine mammals are considered endangered.

This is an Arizona myotis, Myotis occultus, from RD Wildlife Management.

Arizona Myotis  

Unknowns abound for a common bat in the southwestern United States.

This is an Atlantic sting ray, Hypanus sabinus, from Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories.

Atlantic Stingray  

Small but abundant, the Atlantic stingray thrives in a wide range of habitats, including freshwater.

This is an endangered Baird's tapir, Tapirus bairdii, at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Baird’s Tapir  

The Baird’s tapir is the national animal of Belize, but habitat loss threatens the future of the species.

After the banning of DDT, bald eagle populations began to recover, resulting in their delisting from of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

Bald Eagle  

Conservation efforts saved the majestic bald eagle from extinction.

Banded orange heliconian butterfly (Dryadula phaetusa) photographed in Gamboa, Panama.

Banded Orange Heliconian  

The bright colors of this delicate butterfly make it easy to identify—and might warn predators to stay away.

Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia blainei) at the Dallas Zoo.

Barbary Sheep  

Rediscovery, continued decline, and invasion: the Barbary sheep faces recovery in its native range and invades abroad.

Both the gray and black-crowned cranes are threatened by the loss of their wetland habitats.

Black Crowned-Crane  

A once-common bird faces human and environmental pressure across its range.

The blackneck garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis) is named for the black blotches behind its jaws.

Blackneck Garter Snake  

Despite habitat loss and threats from introduced species, the blackneck garter snake is holding its own in its extensive range.

The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

Black Rhinoceros  

Illegal poaching and the black market selling of rhino horns are the biggest threat to Africa’s black rhinoceroses.

This is a picture of a bloodworm, Glycera dibranchiata, taken at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories.


The bloodworm may look like your average slimy critter, but copper jaws extending from a squirming proboscis give it a quirky distinction.

This is a bobcat, Lynx rufus, taken at the Miller Park Zoo.


Although protections for the bobcat vary across its range, the species’ numbers have increased in recent years.

A Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus) taken at Zoo Taiping.

Bornean Bearded Pig  

Facial hair and an elongated snout make the Bornean bearded pig hard to forget. But that’s not all that’s striking about Borneo’s only native pig.

This is a photograph of a Brazilian salmon pink birdeater, Lasiadora parahybana, taken at the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary.

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater  

The Brazilian salmon pink birdeater is not as voracious a bird consumer as its name implies, but it is an agile hunter.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) population as stable.

Canada Lynx  

The Canada lynx roams the northern forests of North America in pursuit of its main prey, the snowshoe hare.

The Cape fox (Vulpes chama) is one of the smallest members of the Canidae family, weighing less than 2.6 kilograms (6 pounds) and stretching to about 55 centimeters (22 inches) long, not including the tail.

Cape Fox  

Southern Africa’s Cape fox is one of the smallest member of the Canidae family, but that’s not keeping it down. Discover more about this good listener and how it is expanding its range.

A pair of citron-crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) photographed at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.

Citron-Crested Cockatoo  

A critically endangered subspecies of parrot endemic to the island of Sumba in Indonesia.

This Colombian black spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris) was photographed at Summit Municipal Park in Gamboa, Panama.

Colombian Black Spider Monkey  

Rain forest logging threatens the future of the Colombian black spider monkey. Learn about its life in the forest canopy and how it helps promote new growth.

The common bluebottle butterfly (Graphium sarpedon luctatius) has at least 15 different classes of photoreceptors, light-detecting cells similar to the rods and cones in the human eye.

Common Bluebottle Butterfly  

The common bluebottle has uncommon eyes. Discover how their vision equips them for survival.

This common warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) was photographed at the Singapore Zoo in Singapore, Singapore.

Common Warthog  

The common warthog ranges widely throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Its unusual grooming habits include help from birds and even mongooses.

This coyote puppy was photographed at Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. in Lincoln, Nebraska.


The adaptable coyote is not just tolerating the changes to its habitat, it is thriving in them.

This cusk eel (family Ophidiidae) was photographed at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium in Panacea, Florida.

Cusk Eel  

Cusk eels live along the ocean floor, from shallow areas down to the deepest parts of the ocean where light from the sun does not penetrate.

This diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) was photographed in Gainesville, Florida.

Diamondback Terrapin  

The diamondback terrapin is an iconic coastal dweller from Massachusetts to the Gulf Coast. 

This dusky pademelon (Thylogale brunii) was photographed at the Plzen Zoo in Plzen, Czech Republic.

Dusky Pademelon  

The dusky pademelon is a small member of the Macropodidae family, which includes all kangaroos. It is native to New Guinea and minor surrounding islands.

This emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator) was photographed at the Plzen Zoo in Plzen, Czech Republic.

Emperor Tamarin  

A variety of adaptations enable the emperor tamarin to survive in forests of the Amazon. 

This European wildcat (Felis sivestris sivestris) was photographed in Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.

European Wildcat  

The European wildcat is a undomesticated feline staple of the European landscape that mainly hunts rodents, rabbits, and other small animals for sustenance.

Ten-week-old fennec fox (Vulpes zerda) kit at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Fennec Fox  

The fennec foxis unmistakable with its large ears, used for hunting and staying cool in the desert. 

Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) photographed at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington.

Fishing Cat  

Fishing cats are not averse to getting wet and can be found in wetlands, mangroves, and sometimes aquaculture farms, across South and Southeast Asia.

Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi), named Lucy, at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida.

Florida Panther  

This subspecies of mountain lion once roamed throughout the southeastern United States, but is now endangered and inhabits wild lands in Florida. 

Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.

Giant Anteater  

The giant anteater is an odd-looking and mostly solitary mammal with remarkable physical traits, including a two-foot-long tongue and formidable claws. 

The giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is one of the largest of the octopus species and resides in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. It is mostly a solitary creature yet displays capacity for socializing.

Giant Pacific Octopus  

The giant Pacific octopus is one of the largest of the octopus species and resides in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. It is mostly a solitary creature yet displays capacity for socializing. 

Giant panda twins, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, pose for photographer Joel Sartore at Zoo Atlanta.

Giant Panda  

A beloved symbol of wildlife conservation, the Giant Panda is one of the rarest bears on the planet. A recent change in its status suggests there is hope for its future. 

Golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia) photographed at the Lincoln Children's Zoo, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Golden Lion Tamarin  

Golden lion tamarins are New World monkeys that inhabit limited areas of coastal forest near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. 

Graceful chameleon (Chamaeleo gracilis) photographed at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Graceful Chameleon  

Researchers have new insights into how−and why−Africa’s graceful chameleon, and all other chameleons, change color. 

Gray’s twig (Ctenomorphodes chronus) photographed at the Singapore Zoo.

Gray’s Twig  

Able to mimic the appearance of the tree where it feeds, Gray’s twig is a master of camouflage.

Green-cheeked parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) photographed at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

Green-Cheeked Parakeet  

This widespread South American parrot is common in the wild and in captivity.

The green peafowl is an endangered species of bird once common to most of Asia. Now its range has shrunk to primarily Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, with only remnant populations found elsewhere.

Green Peafowl  

A showy green bird faces population decline amidst pressure from hunting and trade.

This is a spotted green pufferfish, Tetraodon fluviatilis, at the Singapore Zoo's River Safari area.

Green Spotted Pufferfish  

The green spotted pufferfish is toxic, has an impressive natural defense mechanism, and may teach us something about ourselves.

Gray crowned-crane (Balearica regulorum) photographed in Villars les Dombes, France.

Gray Crowned-Crane  

A regal African bird has suffered a precipitous population decline.

Two gray-tailed mustached monkeys (Cercopithecus cephus)  at Park Assango in Libreville, Gabon.

Grey Tailed Mustached Monkey  

A colorful Old World primate has a large, healthy population with pre-emptive protection.

A critically endangered helmeted hornbill (Phinoplax vigil) photographed at Penang Bird Park in Penang Malaysia.

Helmeted Hornbill  

Hard-headed birds face challenges from rivals and humans.

Horse conch (Triplofusus giganteus) photographed at the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio.

Horse Conch  

The horse conch is a very large marine snail that is found in shallow waters along the Atlantic coast of the United States and Mexico.

The Iowa Pleistocene snail (Discus macclintocki) has been around for a very long time—since the last Ice Age, or the Pleistocene, to be specific as evidenced by fossilized shells found across the Midwestern United States. ​​​​​​​

Iowa Pleistocene Snail  

The tiny Iowa Pleistocene snail, a relic from the Ice Age, can only be found in a very specific habitat in the United States. Find out where this interesting animal lives and the changes that threaten the snail’s survival.

Kirk’s dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) photographed at the Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kirk’s Dik-dik  

Kirk’s dik-dik has some unusual traits to help it survive in the hot, dry areas it calls home. Learn how this small antelope copes with its environment and its predators.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) photographed at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah, Queensland, Australia.


One of Australia’s prominent endemic species faces pressure from shifting climate and expanding human settlements.

Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) photographed at Healesville Sanctuary in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Leadbeater’s Possum  

Small but feisty, the Leadbeater’s possum depends on a mix of old and young trees for food and shelter. Learn about its special habitat and why this tiny mammal is disappearing.

Long-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) photographed at the Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary in Melaka, Malaysia.

Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard  

Like the leopard, the long-nosed leopard lizard is easily recognized by its dark spots.

Long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) photographed at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia.

Long-Tailed Chinchilla  

Though long-tailed chinchillas are common pets, they were hunted nearly to extinction in the wild. Today, they are considered an endangered species.

Pallas’s ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus pallasi) photographed at the Plzen Zoo in Plzen, Czech Republic.

Pallas’s Ring-Necked Pheasant  

A subspecies of the common pheasant, the Pallas’s ring-necked pheasant is a native of Asia.

Mandrills (Madrillus sphinx) photographed at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, Kansas.


Mandrills display some of the most striking mammalian coloration in the animal world and exhibit a distinctive sexual dimorphism between males and females.

An Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) photographed at the Singapore Zoo in Singapore, Singapore.

Indian Elephant  

Indian elephantsare an endangered species. Shrinking habitat puts them into conflict with humans on the Asian mainland.

Island Oddballs

Island Oddballs  

Animals adapted to island life struggle to survive.

Deforestation is one of the main challenges facing the Malaysian Horned Leaf Frog.

Malaysian Horned Leaf Frog  

A common camouflaged frog may face unseen challenges.

A Malayan porcupine, or Himalayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura) at Night Safari.

Malayan Porcupine  

The Malayan porcupine spends much of its time foraging in the ground for food and has a rump full of black-and-white banded quills it will use when threatened or attacked.

The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) has a very limited range and is only found on the Malay Peninsula and along the southern tip of Thailand.

Malayan Tiger  

The Malayan tiger is a critically endangered subspecies of tiger that lives on t he Malay Peninsula. A variety of conservation efforts are underway to save the tiger from extinction.

Mantella frog (Genus Mantella) photographed in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Mantella Frog  

Small and toxic, brightly colored mantella frogs have developed a number of adaptations to help them survive in the forests of Madagascar.

Marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus) photographed at Conservation Fisheries in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Marbled Newt  

Marbled newts are distinctive green-and-black amphibians found in Spain, Portugal, and France.

Marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) photographed at the St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri.

Marbled Salamander  

Marbled salamanders rely on vernal pools and wetlands habitats across much of the eastern United States to breed. 

Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) photographed at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mexican Gray Wolf  

The killing of an endangered Mexican gray wolf in Arizona illustrates the conflict between rangers and environmentalists over managing the reintroduction of the subspecies.

Milky stork (Mycteria cinerea) photographed at Penang Bird Park in Penang, Malaysia.

Milky Stork  

An endangered Southeast Asian waterbird faces unique challenges but may benefit from reintroduction efforts.

Miller’s saki monkey (Pithecia milleri) photographed at Cafam Zoo in Melgar, California.

Miller’s Saki  

The Miller’s sakilives in the trees of the western reaches of the Amazon rain forest. Populations of this monkey are threatened by habitat loss and hunting.

New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae) photographed at the Saint Augustine Alligator Zoological Park in Saint Augustine, Florida.

New Guinea Crocodile  

The New Guinea crocodileshares the biodiverse island of New Guinea with other crocodile species.

Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) photographed at the Marine Mammal Care Center in Fort MacArthur, California.

Northern Elephant Seal  

Northern elephant seals migrate long distances twice a year. Their migration patterns are unique among mammals.

Northern Luzon giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) photographed at the Plzen Zoo in Plzen, Czech Republic.

Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat  

The northern Luzon giant cloud rat is a rodent endemic to the Island of Luzon in the Philippines.

Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) photographed at the Singapore Zoo.

Nubian Ibex  

A desert mountain goat faces poachers and water shortages on its road to recovery.

Oncilla (Leopardus guttulus) photographed at Parque Jamie Duque near Bogota, Colombia.


Humans are the greatest threat to the oncilla, or little-spotted cat, of Central and South America.

An opalescent sea slug (Hermissenda crassicornis) photographed at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah.

Opalescent Sea Slug  

Fierce and colorful, the opalescent sea slug is a nudibranch to look for in the tide pools along the Pacific coast.

Oriental whip snake (Ahaetulla prasina) photographed at the Singapore Zoo.

Oriental Whip Snake  

The oriental whip snake is a common snake found throughout parts of Asia.

A pink sponge photographed at Pure Aquariums in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Simple, ancient animals provide shelter for others but face challenges in marine environments.

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) photographed at the Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma.

Polar Bear  

The world’s largest bear species faces challenges from warming weather and disappearing ice.

Red and white giant flying squirrel (Petaurista alborufus) photographed at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel  

The red and white giant flying squirrelis found in parts of China, and uses a membrane of skin between its limbs to glide. It is found in parts of China.

Ruffed lemurs are the largest of the Lemuridae family of primates, and the red ruffed lemur is about 60 centimeters (23 inches) long with a black, furry tail that is almost the same length.

Red Ruffed Lemur  

Madagascar’s beautiful red ruffed lemur−and its pointed nose−plays a key role in the ongoing growth of its habitat.

Ring-tailed vontsira (Galidia elegans) photographed at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.

Ring-Tailed Vontsira  

The ring-tailed vontsirahas been evolving on Madagascar for millions of years.

Red wolf (Canis rufus) photographed at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Red Wolf  

The endangered red wolf’s population was decimated in the United States, but its reintroduction in North Carolina provides hope for recovery.

Rock squirrel (Otospermophilus variegatus) photographed at the Austin Wildlife Rescue in Austin, Texas.

Rock Squirrel  

Rock squirrels are ground squirrels that live throughout the American southwest and much of Mexico.

Scrawled cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis) photographed at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium in Panacea, Florida.

Scrawled Cowfish  

The uniquely shaped scrawled cowfish thrives in a variety of habitats in the temperate and tropical waters off the east coast of the Americas.

Echidnas, along with platypuses (also native to Australia), are the only members of a grouping of mammals called monotremes. Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs rather than give birth to live young.

Short-Beaked Echidnas  

The short-beaked echidna has spines on its back, a stiff snout, and a sticky tongue. It can be found in all of Australia’s biogeographic regions.

Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) photographed at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, Alaska.

Short-eared Owl  

Despite some population declines, this acrobatic owl can be found worldwide.

Small-toothed palm civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata) photographed at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Small-toothed Palm Civet  

Because small-toothed palm civets are arboreal and nocturnal, monitoring them can be challenging. This makes estimating their population and understanding their behavior more difficult.

Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) photographed at Raptor Recovery Nebraska in Elmwood, Nebraska.

Snowy Owl  

A widespread Northern Hemisphere bird of prey may face future challenges from climate change.

Springbok mantis (Sphodromantis gastrica) photographed at the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand.

Springbok Mantis  

An invasive mantis spells doom for lovestruck natives.

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) photographed at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville Texas.

Sumatran Orangutan  

These great apes face the destruction of their forest habitat in Indonesia.

Southern Three-Banded Armadillo

Southern Three-Banded Armadillo  

It’s armored and can roll into a ball, but can it stand up to habitat destruction?

The Tasmanian devil, Sarcophilus harrisii, was named because of its aggressive behaviors.

Tasmanian Devil  

The Tasmanian devil is an Australian marsupial facing a serious threat to its survival as a species from a transmissible cancer.

A Texas indigo snake, Drymarchon melanurus erebennus, that is shedding, at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Texas Indigo Snake  

Learn more about the Texas indigo, one of North America’s largest snakes.

Picture of Texas redheaded centipede from a private collection in Texas (2496143)

Texas Redheaded Centipede  

The Texas redheadedcentipedelooks like a frightening predator, but it’s also a source of prey in nature’s food web.

This is a two-horned beetle, Dicheros bicornis, at Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary.

Two-horned Beetle  

The two-horned beetle is a species of scarab beetle.

The Virginia opossum is a marsupial, related to kangaroos and koalas. It's infants nurse and grow in their mother’s pouch and, when old enough, they ride on her back until they are weaned and independent.

Virginia Opossum  

North America’s only marsupial might look a little strange, but it’s an important contributor to healthy ecosystems.

This is a volcano rabbit, Romerolagus diazi, from the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City.

Volcano Rabbit  

Mexico’s tiny volcano rabbit faces many challenges, including competition for the grasses it depends on for survival−but there are signs of hope for this endangered animal.

The male was born in 1963 and his mate in 1964.

Western Lowland Gorilla  

These West African great apes need careful planning and multinational coordination to preserve their habitat and wild populations.

Eight species of pangolins range from vulnerable to critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

White-Bellied Pangolin  

This African species is suffering from an increase in illegal trade from Africa into Asia, where its scales are used in traditional medicine.

This is a female yellow bellied marmot, Marmota flaviventris, collected from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado at the hibernation study lab of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Yellow-bellied Marmot  

A large and social North American rodent knows the benefits of playtime.

This is a yellow oriole, Icterus nigrogularis, at the National Aviary of Colombia.

Yellow Oriole  

A common tropical oriole leaves many questions unanswered.