Photo Ark out to save all an­i­mals

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Casey Don­ahue

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.

Joel Sar­tore / Na­tional Geo­graphic Photo Ark

A Malayan tiger.

Joel Sar­tore / Na­tional Geo­graphic Photo Ark

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.

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