Photo Ark

Photographing the world’s animals to help stop the extinction crisis

For many of Earth’s creatures, time is running out. Half of the world’s plant and animal species are projected to go extinct by 2100.

Photo Ark is a multiyear National Geographic project with a simple goal—to create portraits of the world’s captive species before they disappear, and to inspire people everywhere to care.

Currently the Photo Ark collection includes more than 5,000 species—but photographer Joel Sartore isn't done. His goal is to document the world's 12,000 captive species with the studio lighting and black and white backgrounds that give the collection its iconic look. The hope? To inspire millions around the world with the message that it's not too late to save some of the planet's most endangered species.

See Photos From the Collection

  • Of Cats and Dogs

    Of Cats and Dogs

    Photographer Joel Sartore is capturing the world's animalsincluding big cats and wolvesbefore they go extinct.

  • A Flight of Birds

    A Flight of Birds

    See a whooping crane, a Javan rhinoceros hornbill, and more stunning birds photographed by Joel Sartore.

  • Primate Portraits

    Primate Portraits

    See photos of monkeys, lemurs, and great apes from photographer Joel Sartore.

Photo Archive

A picture many of the photos in the Photo Ark

Browse the Photo Ark for framed and unframed prints available for your home, or learn how to license an image for professional uses.

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Support Our Work

A picture of Joel Sartore with a baby snow leopard cub

Many of the species featured in the Photo Ark can be saved, but it will take people with passion or money—or both—to step up and get involved.

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See the Photo Ark Exhibit

With ingenuity and wit, National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has captured portraits of more than 5,000 creatures to date, with more to come. Many of the animals live in the world’s zoos and aquariums, institutions dedicated to preserving and caring for species of all kinds. This exhibition, at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., features many iconic images and allows visitors to follow Sartore around the world on this exciting and important project.

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