WASHINGTON (March 20, 2017)—Today, the National Geographic Society announced a new traveling outdoor exhibition, the “National Geographic Photo Ark,” which will open at zoos across the United States this spring. Featuring the work of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the exhibition will debut at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Dallas Zoo in April, and at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in May. This exhibition is organized by the National Geographic Society and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
Sartore estimates the completed National Geographic Photo Ark will include portraits of more than 12,000 species representing several animal classes, including birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. In what will be the largest single archive of studio-quality photographs of biodiversity ever, the National Geographic Photo Ark continues to move toward its goal of documenting these 12,000 species in human care, thanks in part to Sartore’s enduring relationships with many of the world’s zoos and aquariums. These iconic portraits have captured the imagination of people around the world and have even been projected on the Empire State Building in New York and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
“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, National Geographic Society. “Joel Sartore has demonstrated what one man can do using the power of photography—and now National Geographic and the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium want to inspire people all over the country to contribute to this global challenge.”
The “National Geographic Photo Ark” exhibition will highlight more than 50 of Sartore's most compelling images and provide visitors with the unique opportunity to come face to face with animals from the National Geographic Photo Ark. Sartore started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, more than a decade ago. Since then, he has visited 40 countries and has worked in more than 250 zoos, aquariums and animal rescue centers around the world in his quest to create the Photo Ark.
Many of the images featured in the “National Geographic Photo Ark” exhibition were taken at the zoos where the exhibition will be on display, including the Madagascar ibis at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the Somali wild ass at the Dallas Zoo and the fishing cat at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Visitors will learn about the project, its mission and its conservation efforts by participating zoos. The exhibition will also engage audiences of all ages through free educational materials and activities.
“Zoos are the true Arks now,” said Sartore. “At a time when so many people live in areas without access to animals, zoos keep the public engaged in the natural world while also funding habitat restoration and other critical breeding programs.”
Additional zoo venues for the outdoor exhibition may be announced soon. The exhibitions accompany a new National Geographic book, The Photo Ark (National Geographic Books; $35.00), and a children’s book, Animal Ark (National Geographic Kids Books; $15.99). A documentary series on Sartore’s work, RARE – Creatures of the Photo Ark, will also premiere on PBS in July. Learn more at NatGeoPhotoArk.org and join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether.