We get an inside look at the Melbourne Zoo’s National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition

The National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition has made its way to Australia and can I just say, what an absolute privilege it is to have it nestled at our own Melbourne Zoo. The Nat Geo family has always been a huge inspiration to a lot of people in not only educating them about our wondrous animal life, but also sharing their story through photos and videos.

The Photo Ark was founded by world-renowned National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore. Incredibly, he has visited more than 40 countries and completed studio portraits of more than 6,300 species since 1995, in his quest to create the largest photo archive of global biodiversity. His ultimate goal is to reach 12,000 species.

“The Photo Ark was born out of desperation to halt, or at least slow, the loss of global biodiversity. The goal of Photo Ark is simple: show what’s at stake, and get people to care – while there’s still time. All creatures great and small are valuable, magnificent, and deserve a basic right to exist. The plain truth is, when we save species, we are actually saving ourselves,” Sartore said. I think this more than anything spoke profoundly to me. Learning of the challenges these animals face when half of the world’s species could be lost by 2100 is such a scary thought.

This exhibition is inspiring, heartwarming and eye-opening. You will learn about species you probably never knew existed, and you’ll sadly learn about the ones who have become extinct or rather, are on their way to being so. As you take a moment with each photo, look into the animal’s eyes. You’ll feel a connection that goes beyond words and capture a glimpse into the personality of each one. There’s a depth to Sartore’s animal portrait work that brings a smile to your face and opens you up to seeing that they really are no different to us humans.

There are quotes around the exhibit and fact boards which I urge you to take the time to read. Power is knowledge after all. One that stood out to me most though was base around the concept oh how our life on this planet is interconnected.

“No matter the size, the interactions of these creatures with their environments are the engine that keeps the planet healthy for all of us. When you remove one, it affects the rest. The Photo Ark reminds us of those connections and the possibilities of what passionate people can do to keep the web of life together.”

We can all play a role in saving these species from extinction. As Jenny Gray Zoos Victoria CEO says, “We just have to care enough to do something about the extinction crisis. Together we can preserve a future rich in wildlife.”

All from the Melbourne Zoo. Shown is an eastern barred bandicoot, a critically endangered mammal.
Photo by Joel Sartore

The exhibition runs at the Melbourne Zoo until October 1st. For tickets and more info, head HERE.


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