Joel Sartore has made it his mission to catalog the world’s most endangered animals before they disappear forever. For the past 10 years, he has worked with National Geographic to build the Photo Ark—a photography project for endangered species that aims to spread awareness of the planet’s sixth mass extinction and attempt to slow it down.
This is the first mass extinction in Earth’s history that’s entirely the fault of humans. Species are disappearing at a rate that’s 100 times faster than usual because of climate change, the introduction of invasive species in foreign habitats, human overconsumption, and habitat loss.
To help paint a picture of just how bad things are, the scientific journal Nature released a biodiversity report that estimates 41% of amphibians, 26% of mammal species, and 13% of birds face extinction because of human activities.
Experts estimate that half the planet’s species will become extinct by 2100. Sartore is racing to document as many critically endangered species as he can before it’s too late. He has so far taken intimate portraits of over 6,000 species in 40 countries.
Satore believes that showcasing these animals will force people to confront the stark reality of the extinction crisis and get them to take action. He wants to not only inspire people to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations.
If you want to help, click here to donate to the National Geographic Society to support initiatives that protect endangered animals. Here are 13 of Satore’s amazing portraits.