Since Joel Sartore founded the National Geographic Photo Ark in 1995, he has travelled to 40 countries and photographed more than 6,500 species. In 2017 alone, Sartore published two National Geographic books and six magazine articles, opened three new U.S. exhibitions in zoos and one internationally, and launched the #SaveTogether Out of Home (OOH) advertising campaign with OAAA. Adding to his list of accomplishments in 2017, Sartore received the Rungius Medal from the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
“To say that this is an honor would be an understatement,” Sartore said of winning the award. “My deepest thanks to the museum, and the fine work they have done for decades. The mission of the National Geographic Photo Ark and the museum are much the same; to engage the public with the wonders of nature, and be moved to save it, while there's still time.”
The medal is awarded in recognition of lifetime or exceptional contribution to the awareness of wildlife and the habitat necessary for its survival. The prestigious award puts Sartore in the company of 18 other recipients who dedicated their careers to wildlife and habitat awareness, including Jane Goodall, Bob Kuhn, Mardy Murie and E.O. Wilson.
Debbie Petersen, Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, said that Sartore was chosen, “because he is the personification of the mission of the National Museum of Wildlife Art.”
As founder and photographer behind the National Geographic Photo Ark, Sartore’s mission is to photograph every animal living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. At the National Geographic Explorers Festival in June, Sartore announced that he was halfway through with his project. He estimates that it will take him another 15 years to finish the project and document the remaining 6,000 species.
“Through the power of visuals, we continue to give a voice to the voiceless,” Sartore said. “There is no higher calling.”
A new National Geographic exhibition featuring Sartore’s work on the National Geographic Photo Ark is on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art through August 20, 2017.