Photo project to save endangered species, started at Lincoln Children’s Zoo, celebrates 15 years

Lincoln native, Joel Sartore, started the National Geographic Photo Ark to raise awareness towards endangered species, and document every animal living in the w
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 8:55 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln native, Joel Sartore, started the National Geographic Photo Ark to raise awareness toward endangered species and document every animal living in the worlds zoo’s and wildlife sanctuaries.

On Monday, the project, which began in the Capital City and has amassed 1.5 million Instagram followers, celebrated 15 years since it’s creation.

The naked mole rat was the first animal to be featured in the project, but it’s not the only animal that’s been featured at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Others include reptiles, birds and flamingos.

They’re included in about 11,000 species which have been documented by Sartore in the last 15 years.

For Lincoln, the project serves as a way to measure how far the Lincoln Children’s Zoo has developed over the years.

“We are just delighted that the zoo got it started for all the zoo’s in the country, helping zoo’s around the world to help save wildlife,” Chapo said. “We’ve had Lincoln Children’s Zoo images go global, we’ve been on the front page of National Geographic, we’ve had stars here, front page animals here in Lincoln, photographs here that have gone global, touched lives and touched hearts.”

Those images used in Photo Ark have been added throughout the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.

Chapo said not every person has access to every zoo or is able to travel, so the images serve an important purpose in showing off the animals who need protected.

“That’s why the Photo Ark is so important,” said John Chapo, president of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. “It’s connections. It’s looking in the eyes of the animals because they are disappearing. They are vanishing from this beautiful world and we all need to have a strong compassion for these animals.”

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