Joel Sartore, a long-time contributor to National Geographic magazine and a naturalist photographer, recently spent three days at Almaty Zoo as part of the Photo Ark conservation effort, aimed at documenting endangered species living in zoos, QazMonitor reports.
The photographer chose the Almaty Zoo for the latest addition to his project because it is one of the few zoos where saigas are kept and bred.
I’ve come all the way here to Almaty to photograph the saiga antelope, Himalayan snowcock, and other species as well that are native to the Mongolian Steppe. The zoo here has a great collection of animals that are from this part of the world. I’ve never been here and so it’s a great place to work for the Photo Ark.
Led by Joel Sartore in association with National Geographic, the Photo Ark is a global-spanning effort to document endangered species inhabiting zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. Its aim is to motivate through education, encouraging support for conservation efforts to save wildlife. In November 2021, Sartore photographed approximately 12,000 species and since the inception of the project, several species documented are now extinct.
The other thing is without any size comparison all these animals are the same. They’re all equal. So a mouse is every bit as large and important as an elephant in these portraits.
“The Photo Ark is my 25-year effort to document every species in human care around the world in order to inspire the public to care about nature. We use black-and-white backgrounds and studio lighting for a couple of reasons. The lighting brings out true colors, and the black-white backgrounds eliminate all distractions and allow us to look right in the eyes of all these animals,” shares the photographer.