National Geographic Photo Ark Illuminates Endangered Species Day With Stunning Images

National Geographic Photo Ark animals “takeover” of New York and other major U.S. cities today, Endangered Species Day, marks the launch of the #SaveTogether campaign aimed at saving species.

For many species, time is running out, which is why on Endangered Species Day, the National Geographic Society and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the out of home (OOH) advertising industry, launched a groundbreaking OOH campaign aimed at saving species at risk in the wild, NGS and OAAA say in a news release about the campaign.  The key message is: “See what we can #SaveTogether before it’s too late.”

To support that campaign on Endangered Species Day (May 19), National Geographic Voices is featuring a selection of photographs from National Geographic Photo Ark, complementing the images that will “take over” major outdoor venues.

A three-month-old baby chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. Genetically a close relative of humans, the chimpanzee is assessed as Endangered (vulnerable to extinction in the near future) by the International Union for Conservation’s Red List of Threatened Species. Poaching, infectious diseases, and loss of habitat and habitat quality caused by expanding human activities are cited as the major threats to the species. Key to their survival in the wild will be the preservation and effective protection of large tracts of their natural habitat in Africa.
A male okapi, Okapia johnstoni, at the White Oak Conservation Center. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. Another African species assessed by IUCN as Endangered, the okapi is thought to have lost at least half of its numbers in its native habitat in the Congo Basin forests over the last 25 years. Looking like a hybrid of a horse and zebra, the okapi is in fact a relative of the giraffe adapted to living in forests. Prized as bushmeat, the shy okapi is threatened by over-hunting and destruction of its forest home in Central Africa.
A critically endangered orange-bellied parrot, Neophema chrysogaster, Healesville, Victoria, Australia. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. Assessed by IUCN as Critically Endangered (facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild), this parrot is thought to number less than 50 mature individuals in the wild. It may be extinct within five years. Endemic to southeastern Australia, the parrot is seen as a flagship species in the fight against extinction, one of 20 birds the Australian Government has prioritized with resources to sustain the species recovery effort.

More About the OOH Campaign

Featuring stunning images from the National Geographic Photo Ark, the campaign sounds the alarm for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. Following the digital OOH launch of the campaign in Times Square and other major U.S. cities today, the #SaveTogether campaign will continue throughout the summer on donated billboards and other OOH formats across the country.

Founded by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the Photo Ark aims to document every species currently living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts. Sartore has photographed more than 6,500 species so far on his quest to create the National Geographic Photo Ark. Once completed, the Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence and a powerful testament to the importance of saving species.

“Sartore’s breathtaking portraits inspire people to care about these animals and to take action while there’s still time to protect them,” the news release adds. “The goal of the #SaveTogether campaign is to move people to support the Photo Ark and projects working to help save species. More than 25 animals from the Photo Ark will be featured in the OOH campaign, including the Florida panther, the Saint Vincent Amazon parrot, the Golden Snub-nosed monkey and the Malayan tiger, of which there are only an estimated 340 left in the wild. A complete list of the Photo Ark animals featured in the campaign is given below.”

Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. are among some of the major markets that will also participate in the Endangered Species Day launch of the #SaveTogether campaign through local activations. After May 19, the campaign will expand throughout the U.S. where Photo Ark animals will be featured on printed and digital billboards, bus shelters, airport dioramas, mall kiosks and other OOH formats. Across the county, more than 43,000 digital OOH screens will feature Photo Ark images.

A jaguar, Panthera onca, at Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. IUCN assesses this cat as Near Threatened (may be threatened with extinction in the near future). The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists it as Endangered (in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range), facing a high degree of threat due to habitat loss, a low potential for recovery, and a state of conflict between it and humans. The species is currently found in 19 countries from the U.S. to Argentina.
An endangered, yellow-footed rock wallaby, Petrogale xanthopus. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. Assessed for the Red List of Threatened Species as Near Threatened — and as Threatened by the authorities in New South Wales, Australia — because of ongoing fragmentation and shrinkage of its habitat, this species of marsupial, once prized for its orange-tinged fur, may be close to being reclassified as Vulnerable. according to IUCN. There may be less than 10,000 mature individuals in the Australian wilderness, mostly in protected areas and national parks. Predation from introduced foxes and competition for its food by feral goats may be  the greatest threats to the species.
An endangered male Sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii, at Rolling Hills Zoo. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. This species of orangutan is Critically Endangered, according to an assessment for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Less than 15,000 individuals are thought be hanging on in what is left of their traditional range on the island of Sumatra. Survival in the wild is seriously threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, caused largely by clearance of forest for palm oil plantations.

#SaveTogether is the unifying message across National Geographic’s many efforts to showcase the Photo Ark project throughout 2017, including exhibitions around the world, two new books, magazine articles and digital features. A documentary series on Sartore’s work, RARE – Creatures of the Photo Ark, will also premiere on PBS in July.

Learn more and donate at and join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether.

The #SaveTogether campaign is the latest example of the OOH industry donating time and space for the public good. Many OAAA member companies have contributed resources to help bring the #SaveTogether campaign to the American public.

An Owston’s palm civet, Chrotogale owstoni, at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center, based at Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. Also called the Owston’s banded civet,  this small mostly nocturnal mammal’s wild population has declined by half over the last 15 years, according to IUCN, which assesses the species as Endangered. Caught in snares, the civet is taken for meat and traditional medicine (including its bones, scent gland, and penis) in all of its range countries, according to IUCN. Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are also threats. The civet is known from Vietnam, Laos and China.
An endangered Coquerel’s sifaka, Propithecus coquereli, at the Houston Zoo. National Geographic Photo Ark photograph by Joel Sartore. This denizen of the forest of Madagascar has suffered a loss of more than half its numbers in the past three generations (about 50 years), according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the species as Threatened. The species is severely threatened by hunting, and habitat-destruction due largely to the custom of burning down forests to create new pasture for livestock.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about some of the enigmatic species that are edging towards extinction. The interaction between animals and their environments is the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. But for many species, time is running out. When you remove one, it affects us all.

The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear effort to raise awareness of and solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. The Photo Ark’s three-pronged approach harnesses the power of National Geographic photography and the bold ideas of our explorers. Led by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.

See what we can #SaveTogether before it’s too late.

Learn more about Photo Ark, help us save wildlife.




Meet the Author
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn