Portraits: American Animals Near Extinction

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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.

A California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.

A Choctawhatchee beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus allophrys).

A northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina).

A grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Portrait of “Orange”, the last dusky seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigriscens) in a vial of alcohol in the Natural History Museum at Florida State University. The species went extinct in 1987.