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8,000th Species to Join National Geographic Photo Ark

The Pyrenean desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, is the 8,000th species to board the National Geographic Photo Ark. Photographed in Portugal, this rare insectivore leads a semiaquatic nocturnal life, with webbed feet for swimming and a trunk-like nose for sensing prey and snorkeling. The Pyrenean desman is a vulnerable species and its population has fallen by about 60% over the past 20 years.

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A Pyrenean desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, from the wild in Portugal.

A Pyrenean desman, Galemys pyrenaicus, photographed on the grounds of the Symington Estates in Portugal.

Photograph by Joel Sartore

In the News

Picture of secretary bird at Toronto Zoo

Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting

They help the environment, but they also help our souls. In 2018 we’ll explore the wonder of birds, and why we can’t live without them.

Picture of Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore Receives Captain Planet Exemplar Award  

Joel Sartore received the award at the Captain Planet Foundation’s 26th Annual Gala event.

Antillean manatee at the Dallas World Aquarium (2331324)

National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows Announced  

The National Geographic Society joined with the Zoological Society of London’s EDGE of Existence program to create the National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellowships.

Building the Ark


Species to Date



In his quest to document our world’s astonishing diversity, Joel has taken portraits of 8,000 species — and counting! He’s over half way to his goal of documenting all of the approximately 12,000 species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

Year of the Bird

Year of the Bird is 12 months of storytelling, science, and conservation aimed at heightening public awareness of birds and the importance of protecting these critical species. Take a look at some of the birds of the Photo Ark below and learn more about Year of the Bird.

Upcoming Events

Picture of Joel Sartore

See Joel Live  

Hear from Joel about Photo Ark and his career as a Nat Geo Photographer! Learn More

Picture of Photo Ark animals

Follow Photo Ark on Facebook  

Follow us on Facebook to learn about future Photo Ark virtual (and actual) events. Learn More

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.

Saving Species in the Wild

Many species in the Photo Ark are at risk in the wild due to habitat loss, illegal poaching, and other threats. National Geographic is actively funding conservationists in the field to help some of these species in most critical need. Meet some of the conservation heroes who are helping protect wildlife and find out how you can take action to help.

Picture of grey crowned crane at Parc des Oiseaux Bird Park (2431222)

Olivier Nsengimana and the Grey Crowned Crane  

Having grown up enjoying the sights and sounds of cranes dancing in the marsh, Olivier Nsengimana was shocked to learn as an adult of their drastic decline.

Picture of Burmese star tortoise (1102552)

Kalyar Platt and the Burmese Star Tortoise  

Microchips, other ID markers, and transmitters help Kalyar Platt and team keep track of a few tortoises to monitor the success of their return to the wild.

Follow Photo Ark

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