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Melbourne Zoo To Host The National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition This Winter In An Australian First

June 16, 2017 Attraction No Comments Email Email

The National Geographic Photo Ark is using the power of photography to inspire people to save animals before it’s too late. Come face-to-face with The National Geographic Photo Ark, a travelling exhibition showcasing photographer Joel Sartore’s work when it opens at Melbourne Zoo for the winter months from July 1 until September 30. Currently showing at select zoos across the United States, this will be the first time The Photo Ark has been exhibited in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Photo Ark is an ambitious project committed to documenting every species living in the world’s zoos and other wildlife sanctuaries – inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts. It features the work of world-renowned National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore, who to date has worked in more than 250 zoos, aquariums and animal rescue centres around the world, visiting more than 40 countries and completing studio portraits of more than 6,000 species in his quest to create this photo archive of global biodiversity

In addition to creating an archival record for generations to come, this project is a hopeful platform for conservation and shines a light on individuals and organisations working to preserve species around the world. It is very fitting for The Photo Ark exhibition to be held in Melbourne: many of the images featured were taken at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary and the local species featured are part of Zoos Victoria’s Fighting Extinction list of critically threatened species native to south-eastern Australia.

These local Australian species are just some of the animals of more than 50 of Sartore’s most compelling images in a haunting collection of the world’s rare and unique animals.

Jenny Gray, Zoos Victoria CEO says, “Joel Sartore portrays these precious species in such a captivating way, it’s hard not to be moved by his portraits. Some of the species featured are virtually unknown and it’s such a brilliant way to connect zoo visitors and people around the world to conservation, especially the type of conservation happening in zoos all over the world. Without zoos, some of these species would not exist and we’re just so lucky that someone like Joel has managed to capture their beauty before it’s too late. Now the rest is up to us. It’s up to you and me to do something about it.”

In what will be the largest single archive of studio-quality photographs of biodiversity ever, Sartore estimates that when completed, The Photo Ark will include portraits of more than 12,000 species representing several animal classes, including birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. 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 City and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Katheryn Keane, Vice President of Exhibitions of the National Geographic Society says, “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. Joel Sartore has demonstrated what one man can do using the power of photography—and now National Geographic wants to inspire people all over the globe to contribute to this global challenge.”

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 air internationally this spring on National Geographic. Learn more at and join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether.

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