Portraits: American Animals Near Extinction

Everyone likes animals. At least, we like looking at pictures of them. In a new book from National Geographic photographer Joe Sartore, Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, the nation’s most vulnerable plants and animals are put on display (69 of them, to be exact). The book is a collection from Sartore’s 20 years traveling across the country, capturing photographs of creatures disappearing from America’s landscape. It’s worth noting that one of the featured animals — the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit — actually went extinct while the book was being made.

Sartore hopes we care enough about animals to go beyond just looking at them, and actually do something to ensure their survival. “The photographs depict the rarest of the rare in our country,” he explains in his foreword. “By photographing the most endangered of our plants and animals, I can make the most dramatic plea to get folks to stop and take a look at the pieces and parts that we’re throwing away.”

Watch a trailer for Rare here, and click through to sample some photographs.

A red wolf (Canis rufus gregoryi) at the Great Plains Zoo.