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The Photo Ark Vanishing: The World’s Most Vulnerable Animals


Joel Sartore

Foreword by Elizabeth Kolbert

The third installment of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s celebrated Photo Ark series features stunning photographs of animals on the brink of extinction.

- U.S. On Sale: Sept. 10, 2019 | $40 | 400 pgs.

- ISBN: 978-1426220593 9 7/8 in. x 9 7/8 in.

In 2006, National Geographic Fellow and photographer Joel Sartore founded The National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear effort to document every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts. As the BBC noted, “American wildlife photographer Joel Sartore is fighting to save endangered species by making us fall in love with them.”

In his newest photo collection, VANISHING, Sartore presents some of the most endangered species on Earth, up close and personal. VANISHING depicts 287 animals that are nearing extinction — or in some cases, already extinct in the wild but kept alive in captivity thanks to the work of heroic conservationists. Some of those heroes featured are National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellows, who are working to protect some of the lesser-known but most at-risk animals in the Photo Ark.

Each species is showcased in Sartore’s signature portrait style, inviting us to notice the smallest details — the wrinkled toes of the Burmese roofed turtle or the focused gaze of the barbary lion, which was hunted to regional extinction in the 1960s. Sartore also shares the circumstances of the species’ disappearing numbers, from songbird trafficking in Southeast Asia to the deadly fungus causing massive fallout for amphibians worldwide.

“Precisely because extinction takes place so frequently now, it’s possible to become inured to it,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert observes in her foreword. “And it is this desensitizing that makes Sartore’s work so crucial. Through his images, we see just how remarkable each species is that’s being lost.”

A compassionate presentation of a critical slice of the animal kingdom, this striking book is also full of empowering educational information, including the following:

  • An explanation of the IUCN Red List
  • Benchmark dates for last-known sightings of several species
  • Detailed captions that describe habitats, current populations and threats

To shine a light on this urgent topic, National Geographic magazine will devote its October 2019 issue to extinction, unpacking the current crisis and informing readers how our actions can change the course of these creatures’ futures. The issue will be available online at on Sept. 17 and on print newsstands on Sept. 24. There will also be a four hour block of shows on National Geographic Channel that tackle

Emotional, inspirational and illustrative of each animal’s unique personality, VANISHING invites us to look closer and take action to help save species at risk — before it’s too late.

JOEL SARTORE is a photographer, author and 30-year contributor to National Geographic magazine, named 2018 National Geographic Explorer of the Year. Through his National Geographic Photo Ark project, he plans to document every species of animal under human care — an estimated 12,000. (As of July 2019, he has photographed more than 9,500.) A three-part PBS/Nova special, “Rare” featured his project in 2017. His “Fundamentals of Photography” is the best-selling offering of all The Great Courses, and he is a frequent guest on “CBS Sunday Morning.

ELIZABETH KOLBERT (foreword) is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her most recent book, “The Sixth Extinction,” received the Pulitzer Price for general nonfiction in 2015. She is also the author of “Field Notes From a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.” A two-time National Magazine Award winner, Kolbert is a visiting fellow at the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College.

About National Geographic Partners

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit 

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