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Joel Sartore- Photo Ark

Founder of the @Natgeo Photo Ark, a 25-year project to show the world the beauty of biodiversity and inspire action to save species

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Joel Sartore- Photo Ark (@joelsartore) Instagram photos and videos

List of Instagram medias taken by Joel Sartore- Photo Ark (@joelsartore)

The first thing that stands out about the Surinam horned frog @riverbankszoo is its size. This extra-large amphibian can grow to eight inches in length - to put that in perspective, imagine a frog around the size of your hand! Females are generally larger than males, but males are more ornately colored, ranging from dark green to lime-colored. Scientists are unsure what purpose their namesake horns serve, but it is likely they aid in camouflage, resembling dead leaf stems on the forest floor. Join me and the Nature Conservancy (@nature_org) of South Carolina at the Riverbanks Zoo on October 10th to see more images like this one and learn what actions you can take to save animals in the wild. Click the link in my bio for event details.

One of fewer than 10 woodland caribou in US zoos, Costello the caribou would stand patiently anywhere during his photoshoot @thompsonparkzoo in exchange for a reward of grape leaves. Meanwhile in the wild, woodland caribou are nearly absent from the lower 48 states because they rely on old-growth forest habitat. The total U.S. population is 40 individuals. ​The biggest threat to this species in the wild? Besides drilling and development in the caribou’s habitat, climate change is a huge problem. This is because they eat lichen from higher tree branches in the winter, and without sufficient snow pack to stand on and reach up, they just can’t get enough to eat. You can help reduce this threat by limiting your emissions, which helps mitigate warming temperatures. Try riding a bike or using public transport to get around town instead of driving your own vehicle!

This big-eared beauty is a little-known Florida bonneted bat named ‘Bonnie'. As the most endangered bat species in Florida, its population is believed to only be in the hundreds. Researchers have found that this species is particularly hard to study because they tend to travel at heights above traditional mist netting setups, the method used to capture bats. However, we do know that the bonneted bat is vulnerable to habitat loss, habitat alteration (like the removal of old trees with cavities, or buildings with spaces suitable for roosting), and pesticide spraying for mosquitoes. As cities continue to grow, this species must work harder to find food in a limited number of open spaces. Thankfully wildlife agencies are hard at work trying to learn as much as they can about these bats and their habitat requirements in order to improve their chances of survival. Check out the link in my bio to learn how you can support your local bat species right in your own backyard!

With bright yellow eyes that almost appear to glow against their purple and orange bodies, it's no surprise that this spooky looking critter became known as the vampire crab. What is surprising is that while this species is well-known in the pet trade, it’s origin was completely unknown to scientists until just recently. Researchers actually had to trace the trade routes used to sell this species in the international pet trade in order to discover where it lives in the wild! It turns out that the crabs come from the island of Java in Indonesia, where they are collected by people and later sold to collectors around the world. Since the origin of this species is new to science, little is known about its population in the wild, but many are concerned that the vampire crab is already under threat from over-collection.

You can’t see it yet, but over time this masked lapwing chick will grow a bright yellow mask that will cover most of its face, just like the adults in the second photo @columbuszoo. These beautiful birds are common throughout northern, central and eastern Australia, and are also found in Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand. While it has a preference for marshes, mudflats, beaches and grasslands, it can also be seen in urban landscapes. In areas where the birds are used to human presence, they may tolerate close interactions, but in most cases the species will shy away from people, especially during nesting season. In an attempt to protect their nest, adults will dive on intruders, or act as though they have a broken wing in an attempt to lure the intruder away. To protect this and other plover species in the wild, always keep a safe distance away from nests, and keep your dog on a leash - this helps keep the stress level of adult birds low, as they may otherwise perceive you and your pup as a threat.

​This prehistoric-looking creature is a Suwannee alligator snapping turtle @floridawildlifecare. Named for alligators because of their ridged shells, the fearsome species uniquely-adapted hunter with powerful jaws and quick bite, much like its namesake. Found throughout the southeastern US, these turtles hunt by lying motionless at the bottom of muddy rivers, lakes, and canals. The tip of their tongue has a red worm-like appendage that acts as bait to attract prey - once the prey gets close enough, their jaws snap shut, securing their catch. The shell of this species is often covered in algae, making it difficult to tell the difference between the turtle and a rock underwater. Should you encounter an alligator snapping turtle in the wild, remember to give it plenty of space - while not aggressive towards humans, this species is well-equipped to protect itself if it feels threatened.

Living in close proximity to humans, Spanish ibex, like this one @zoo_aquarium_madrid, are a familiar sight throughout much of Spain and Portugal. This species occurs in rocky habitats, preferring areas that are interspersed with scrub or pine trees. Their impressive horns make them a favored species for trophy-hunting, which provides an important source of revenue for local communities in rural areas.Thankfully, the ibex does not appear to be experiencing any population declines, and is known for rapidly colonizing new areas when suitable habitat is available. In recent years the species has actually been expanding its home range to cover a larger area.

When you think of a frog, you probably aren’t picturing an amphibian that measures eight inches long and weighs up to two pounds...the mountain chicken frog is proof that giant frogs do exist someplace other than our wildest dreams. Once abundant on six of the Caribbean islands, the species is now confined to just Dominica and Montserrat. Because of its size, this species was historically prized for its meat and frequently consumed by locals and tourists, leading to the mountain chicken frog’s initial decline. In recent years, habitat loss and a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis have replaced hunting as the greatest threat to this frog’s survival. @theomahazoo, where this photo was taken,​ together with other zoos and organizations, launched the Amphibian Conservation Initiative to address the decline of amphibians on a global scale. The program includes the establishment of facilities and the training of staff who are capable of quarantining amphibians and carrying out captive breeding programs. Once threats have been lowered or resolved, offspring of the frogs will be released back into the wild.

​The spots on this ocellate river stingray may attract a lot of attention in an aquarium, but they actually help this species to blend in perfectly with the sun-dappled sandy bottoms of rivers and streams in South America. Their eyes, positioned on the top of their head, give these rays a 360° field of vision, allowing them to keep an eye on their surroundings while remaining safely buried in the sand. They also have a well developed sense of smell, and electrical sensors around their mouth that can detect the natural electrical charges emitted by potential prey and predators. Photo taken @piscilagocol with a @nikonusa D4.

The white-tailed kite is a small, graceful white raptor that hunts over open ground, often seen hovering above fields, grasslands, marshes, and other grassy habitats as it searches for its preferred prey, small rodents. Like a paper kite on a string, the white-tailed kite can hover stationary in the air, holding itself aloft with rapid, fluttering wingbeats while its eyes scan the ground for potential prey. This characteristic behavior is, perhaps unsurprisingly, called “kiting”. The white-tailed kite declined to near-extinction in parts of its U.S. range during the early 1900s, likely due at least in part to egg collecting and hunting as well as loss of habitat. It has since recovered to some degree. Though still most common in Texas and California, white-tailed kites have expanded their range and can be spotted in a few other parts of the western United States as well as into Central America. They are easily stressed, making it challenging to rehabilitate sick or injured birds. Small mammals make up more than 95% of the average white-tailed kite’s diet. You can help white-tailed kites by not poisoning their food supply: avoid using rodenticides and encourage others to do the same. Photo taken @calraptorcenter, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned birds of prey.

Vanishing, the latest book featuring images from the Photo Ark, is officially here! As you flip through these vivid pages, you’ll see portraits of the species most likely to disappear in the next decades, as well as some that have already been lost. Alongside these powerful images are the words of scientists and conservationists who are working to protect and restore populations of endangered species. From the majestic Sumatran rhinoceros to the tiny Salt Creek tiger beetle, each photograph brings you eye to eye with the diversity of shapes, colors, and personalities that define the animal kingdom. Click the link in my bio to order your special signed copy today. 100% of profits directly support the continued efforts of the Photo Ark. Thank you! . ​ Featured Images: 1. Bengal slow loris @endangeredprimaterescuecenter 2. Annamese langur @accb_cambodia 3. Tabasara robber frogs at El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center (@amphibianrescue) 4. Somali wild asses @dallaszoo 5. Philippine eagle @phileaglefdn

With paws like a cat, a tail like a monkey, and round ears like a weasel, fossas like these two @theomahazoo can be hard to categorize at first glance. Although they share some similarities with cats, the fossa is most closely related to the mongoose and civet. Marooned in Madagascar for millions of years, the fossa became the largest carnivore on the island, dominating the landscape. They are excellent hunters and will feed on birds, mice, and pigs, but more often than not, these carnivores will feed on another animal unique to the island - lemurs. Fossas depend on lemurs as a food source, and lemurs need forests to survive. As forests on the island continue to shrink, so do the populations of all of these species. One of the main reasons for logging on the island is the demand for rosewood, which is used to make furniture, essential oils, and instruments like guitars. By lessening the demand for rosewood products, you help to preserve these vital forest habitats!

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