Some of the most compelling photos of animals from zoos and aquariums around the globe are currently being featured at the Cincinnati Zoo.
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore believes keeping the public engaged in the natural world through education, funding and other measures will help keep our most at-risk species alive. The photos Sartore took for the current exhibit — which will be on display now through Aug. 20 — were taken at Cincinnati Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and the Dallas Zoo.
Cincinnati is fortunate to have been selected for the debut tour of the Photo Ark. Sartore spoke at the zoo on May 31 about traveling the globe to photograph the unique animals that make up the exhibit.
“Joel’s work is phenomenal — he has an open invitation to photograph animals here,” says Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “His photos send the message that it is not too late to save some of the world’s most endangered species. This project has the power to inspire people to care.”
One unique aspect of this showcase is that it highlights conservation efforts that Cincinnati has maintained for several years. Six panels in the Cincinnati Zoo exhibition highlight conservation projects that the zoo funds or supports in other ways. These include:
- Sumatran Rhinos: The first Sumatran rhino to be bred and born in a zoo in over a century became part of the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001
- African Lion: The zoo runs Rebuilding the Pride, a community-based conservation program
- Western Lowland Gorilla: Through a partnership with the Republic of Congo, the zoo has helped to protect gorillas through research, education and more
- Cheetahs: The zoo is a leader in cheetah conservation efforts
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. It will be the largest single archive of biodiversity photographs to date. More than 50 of these photos will be featured at the zoo.
While the Ark focuses mainly on conservation efforts in zoos around the world, it is built upon the idea that the public can continue to be educated about the species and how they can get involved. Free educational materials and activities are available to enhance the viewing experience during the exhibition, and photo books are available for purchase in the gift shop as well.
Entry into the exhibit is free with general admission into the zoo.