The Leadbeater’s possum recently became the 7,000th species added to the National Geographic Photo Ark. Photographer and National Geographic Photo Ark founder Joel Sartore had the opportunity to photograph this critically endangered species at the Healesville Sanctuary, part of Zoos Victoria, in Australia.
This nocturnal marsupial is found in the eucalyptus and acacia forests of Central Victoria in Australia. These animals spend most of their time in their dens high up inside large, hollow trees. The Leadbeater’s possum was missing in action for more than 50 years before being rediscovered in 1961. The tiny possums are speedy and feisty, and, with estimates as low as 50 for the Lowland population, their status has recently been upgraded to critically endangered. Zoos Victoria has led extensive research on the possum for a number years and hopes to begin a breeding population soon.
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.
The 7,000 species milestone marks the more than halfway point for Sartore, who estimates the completed National Geographic Photo Ark will include portraits of over 12,000 species representing several animal classes, including birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Read more about the 7,000 species milestone in this National Geographic story. Photo Ark fans are also invited to join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether and learn more about how to get involved with the project at NatGeoPhotoArk.org.