Photo Ark out to save all animals
Thousands of animal species around the world are facing extinction, but a National Geographic project making a stop at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich hopes to inspire people to save them before it’s too late.
The National Geographic Photo Ark is an ambitious, multi- year project that aims to document more than 12,000 animal species in zoos, aquariums and wildlife sanctuaries across the planet. Founded by
National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore, the goal of the project is to motivate the public to care about the animals and work to save them. It also highlights the biodiversity of the thousands of species found in captivity.
Since starting the project in 2005, Sartore has visited more than 250 zoos and aquariums to photograph nearly 8,000 different species. He gets up close and uses studio lighting to create stunning, intimate portraits of the animals that capture their grace, beauty and intelligence. Black and white backgrounds are used for each portrait to create a sense that all animals are equal.
“Every year I see more habitat loss, more species consumed for food, medicine or simply decoration,” Sartore said. “The Photo Ark was born out of desperation to halt, or at least slow, the loss of global biodiversity.”
As part of the project, National Geographic and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium have created a traveling Photo Ark exhibition to bring the portraits to a wider audience. The exhibition opened at the Bruce Museum on Saturday and will be on display until Sept. 2. It will feature more than 50 of Sartore’s images, and allow visitors to come face to face with a wide range of animals from the Photo Ark.
“These images are by turns breathtaking, amusing and poignant,” said Daniel Ksepka, curator of science at the Bruce Museum. “We hope visitors will both enjoy the splendor of nature’s diversity and leave with an appreciation of how many of these species are imperiled. We live in an era when 8,000 vertebrate species are considered to be threatened with extinction, and perhaps looking these creatures in the face will create a sense of urgency for conservation.”
The National Geographic Photo Ark project is expected to take a total of 25 years to complete. The exhibition is accompanied by two National Geographic books, “The Photo Ark” and “Birds of the Photo Ark,” as well as a children’s book, “Animal Ark.” A PBS documentary,
“Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark,” debuted in July 2017 and is available for streaming at pbs. org/ wgbh/ rare.
“The National Geographic Photo Ark has already inspired millions around the world with the message that it is not too late to save some of the world’s most endangered species,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of exhibitions at the National Geographic Society. “Joel Sartore has demonstrated what one man can do using the power of photography — and now National Geographic wants to inspire people all over the country to contribute to this global challenge.”
Fans of the National Geographic Photo Ark are invited to spread the message of the project on social media using the hashtag # SaveTogether. Visitors can also learn how to get involved with the project at NatGeoPhotoArk. org.
In conjunction with the Photo Ark exhibit, the Bruce Museum is offering a special membership promotion. With every purchase of a new annual membership ($ 40 and up) through June 30, the museum will make a $ 15 donation to the National Geographic Photo Ark. To take advantage of the offer, visit the Bruce Museum website and use the promo code Photoark15. Museum members receive free admission, store discounts and invitations to exhibition openings, including the Photo Ark Opening Reception, which will be held Friday from 6 to 7: 30 p. m.
Educational programs and activities designed to engage audiences of all ages will be held at the museum in conjunction with the exhibit. Among these programs will be a panel discussion, “Conservation Conversation,” which will feature conservation experts including Wildlife in Crisis Director Dara Reid, Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and Bruce Museum turtle conservation expert Tim Walsh. The talk will be held on June 26 at 6 p. m.
A Malayan tiger.
An endangered baby Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus, named Aurora, with her adoptive mother, Cheyenne, a Bornean/ Sumatran cross, at the Houston Zoo. A male black- crowned Central American squirrel monkey.