National Geographic Explorer Joel Sartore reached yet another milestone for the National Geographic Photo Ark, photographing the 14,000th species: an Indochinese green magpie (Cissa hypoleuca) at the Los Angeles Zoo. Sartore is more than halfway towards his goal of documenting more than 20,000 species living in human care. Once completed, the Photo Ark will serve as an important record of each animal’s existence and a powerful testament to the importance of saving them.
The Indochinese green magpie is a small, brightly-colored bird that is often targeted for the illegal pet trade, and as a result, its native populations in Southeast Asia and adjacent China are in decline. The individual that Sartore photographed — named Jolie — was one of 93 Asian songbirds recovered from a smuggler’s suitcase at the Los Angeles International Airport in 2017, and one of only eight that survived the ordeal. Today, she is safe at the Los Angeles Zoo, where she serves as an ambassador for her species and brings awareness to the horrors of wildlife trafficking.
“I am thrilled that the National Geographic Society and Joel Sartore are shedding an important light on the collaborative efforts of the L.A. Zoo in combating the illegal wildlife trade,” said Denise M. Verret, CEO & Zoo Director, Los Angeles Zoo. “Jolie’s story is an important one as it spotlights the harrowing and heart-breaking environment wild animals experience as they’re illegally trafficked around the world. It is an honor for Jolie to be the 14,000th species aboard the Photo Ark, and Joel’s beautiful imagery will help connect more people to this species and understand the nefarious world of the illegal wildlife trade.”
Now, as part of the Photo Ark, Jolie’s story can reach an even wider audience, shed light on the multiple threats facing wildlife and their habitats, and inspire people to take action.
“The Photo Ark gives animals the chance to be seen and have their stories told while there’s still time to save them and their habitats,” Sartore said. “I hope that people will see Jolie, hear her story of resilience, and be motivated to learn about the many threats that wildlife face today. Then, I hope they’ll be inspired to take action, because there is no better time than right now.”
This announcement comes as the United States Postal Service launches a special pane of stamps with images from the Photo Ark in order to honor the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Endangered Species Act. Featured on the stamps are portraits of 20 endangered species found living within the 50 states and U.S. territories and possessions, or living near U.S. borders. The Endangered Species Stamps are available for order at usps.com.
Visit NatGeo.org/Photo-Ark to learn more about the National Geographic Photo Ark, conservation, and protecting species.