RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark

Tuesdays at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Renowned National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is a natural-born storyteller. His Photo Ark project is a digital “collection” of the world’s mammals, fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and insects, and the focus of RARE—Creatures of the Photo Ark. This captivating new three-part series follows Sartore as he documents threatened species at zoos, in nature preserves and in the wild. Throughout RARE, scientists and naturalists reveal surprising and important information about why ensuring the future of these animals is so critical.

Author, conservationist and National Geographic Fellow, Sartore has traveled to nearly 40 countries to photograph 6,395 species for the Photo Ark to date, including 576 amphibians, 1,839 birds, 716 fish, 1,123 invertebrates, 896 mammals, and 1,245 reptiles in captivity. When complete the Photo Ark will be one of the most comprehensive records of the world’s biodiversity. Through RARE, audiences can journey with Sartore across the globe—to Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania—to chronicle his experiences.

Most days, Sartore has the best job in the world: in the premiere episode of RARE, prankish semi-habituated lemurs playfully crawl over him at Madagascar’s Lemur Island rehab center, during one of his easiest photography shoots. Others are more challenging:  as no amount of tasty, tempting raw carrots can persuade a 500-pound, 150-year-old giant tortoise to stand on his mark or get ready for his close-up. Likewise, in Florida, a photo of an elusive bunny taking refuge near an active U.S. Navy airstrip has taken four years to procure for the Ark. It’s all in a day’s work….

Sartore knows he is in a race against time. Sometimes he is able to photograph 30 to 40 species in a few days. Others are disappearing before he can get to them. RARE looks at factors driving extinction, including deforestation, rising sea levels, invasive species, pollution and human development, all impacting creatures essential to the world’s ecosystems.