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'National Geographic Photo Ark' on view at The Bruce Museum in Greenwich

‘National Geographic Photo Ark’ on view at The Bruce Museum in Greenwich

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Can taking a picture of every species help protect the world’s animals? National Geographic photographer and fellow Joel Sartore hopes the answer is yes, and has dedicated himself to making it happen.

Fifty of the compelling photos he has captured so far are included in the traveling National Geographic exhibition, “National Geographic Photo Ark.” Opening at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich on Saturday, June 2, it runs through Sunday, Sept. 2.

The “Photo Ark” is “an ambitious project committed to documenting every species in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries — inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations,” the museum said.

Relationships with many of the world’s zoos and aquariums are making this project possible. Working in more than 250 zoos, aquariums and animal rescue centers around the globe, Sartore has already taken intimate photographs of nearly 8,000 species.

When the “Photo Ark” is complete, it’s expected to include portraits of more than 12,000 species, representing several animal classes, including birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. It will be the largest single archive of studio-quality photographs of biodiversity ever compiled.

Sartore’s iconic portraits have already captured the imagination of people around the globe. Some of his photographs have even been projected on the Empire State Building and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the museum said.

“The National Geographic Photo Ark has already inspired millions around the world with the message that it is not too late to save some of the world’s most endangered species,” said Kathryn Keane, of the National Geographic Society.

“These images are by turns breathtaking, amusing, and poignant,” said Dr. Daniel Ksepka, curator of science at the Bruce Museum. “We hope visitors will both enjoy the splendor of nature’s diversity and leave with an appreciation of how many of these species are imperiled.”

Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich. Saturday, June 2-Sunday, Sept. 2. Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; closed Monday and major holidays. $10 adults, $8 seniors and students with ID, free for members and kids younger than 5. Admission free Tuesday. Parking free. 203-869-0376, brucemuseum.org

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