November 27, 2017 Read out

NGS Picture Id: 2331382

NGS Picture Id:2331382

Just hang out! Brown-throated sloths live in South America. (Photo: Joel Sartore / NG Buchverlag)

Whether the Müller-Gibbon monkey, the Sumatran rhinoceros or the South African crowned crane: they are all threatened with extinction. The endangerment of the world's fauna in all its manifestations is the subject of the picture book "Species Rich" by photographer Joel Sartore. Seeing how many animals are actually endangered changes the view of the planet and calls for action.

On 400 pages, photographer Joel Sartore impressively brings the diversity of the animal kingdom closer. He has commented on his animal portraits with small anecdotes. For example, the tree porcupine lady on the cover: The hairy animal with the name Halsey was hit by a car. Today, Halsey is well again, but she can not be released due to a dental disease in the wild. Native is the small Urson albino in North America.

In addition to rare animals Joel Sartore also dismissed random acquaintances. Once, when the photographer was traveling in West Africa for a photo reportage, a half-fingered gecko got lost in his tent at night. He reached for the animal, the gecko threw off his tail. No reason to worry - the tail grows luckily back to the reptile. For the portrait he spontaneously put the gecko and tail side by side.

Particularly meaningful are the explanations. Is an animal in danger or not? If so, how strong? After that, Sartore has divided his pictures. He makes it clear which of the depicted animals will probably disappear soon. As many species are already threatened with extinction, it is surprising that according to the current red list of endangered species of the World Conservation Union (ICUN) there are about 25, 000 animals. So far, 1.2 million species have been identified on Earth, of which about 95 percent are insects.

Quirky animal comparisons

The book is divided into five chapters - Mirror, Partner, Opposite, Curiosities and Hope. In the chapter "Mirror" Satore puts two mostly very different animals next to each other. There are astonishing parallels when, for example, a South American king vulture and a rhinoceros are facing each other: only at second glance can you see the similarity of the bird's orange carunculus with the horn of the rhinoceros. display

This is how the chapter plays with the eye of the beholder. For despite their differences, similarities are revealed in the unequal animals. Each chapter tells its own story: whether it's the supposed mirror image, the path with the partner or the companion, the similarity in the opposite, the peculiarity of a species that escapes any categorization or the first-time happy ending of an endangered species.

In between, Sartore interspersed little extras: double pages that lead "behind the scenes". Here is how the pictures are made and how he managed to get the sometimes very shy animals in front of the lens. One of his tricks: He clears the animals in a tent, which he can quickly set up. So he calmed, for example, a very vulnerable Haiti buzzard. Since many of the portrayed animals are already extinct in their original environment and are therefore in human custody, Sartore could photograph his subjects against a completely white or black background. Animal caretakers and volunteers supported him.

Use for the preservation of species

In the "Heroes" section, the Oklahoma-born photographer spoke to people who are committed to animal welfare in a special way - such as with German-born activist Tilo Nadler. He founded the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Vietnam, which looks after maltreated animals. Many of them were confiscated on the black market. One of them is the endangered white-cheeked crested gibbon. The small primate lives in China as well as in the northern regions of Vietnam and Laos.

"At present, species are being eliminated more quickly than at any other time in Earth's history, " writes Harrison Ford, chairman of the organization "Conservation International, " in the foreword to Sartore's illustrated book. The US actor and committed nature conservationist has been committed to preserving wildlife for decades. Scientists have even named two animals after him: the spider species Calponia harrisonfordi and the ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi. Unlike animals, humans can influence whether a species persists, Ford explains. The aim of Sartore's illustrated book is to give these creatures a voice.

To the photographer:

Joel Sartore (born 1962) first worked as a newspaper photographer in America, then began his career with the National Geographic Society. After initially portraying people, he later specialized in wildlife photography. The photographer sees himself as one of the last, who sees some of the recorded species alive. In more than ten years he collected more than 6000 species. Over 400 of them are found in "species rich".

To the book:

Joel Sartore
A tribute to diversity
National Geographic book publisher, Hamburg 2017, 60, - Carola Neydenbock
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