Big 5s

Joel Sartore

Photographer

“If you are in the conservation and you are in the natural world, you know that the little things really run the planet. You think about the work that ants do, for example. Ants clean up the planet like crazy, insects clean up the planet, as do dung beetles, or scavengers, like vultures. We have a tremendously, complicated and vast system for constantly recycling waste and turning them into living matter again, and those smaller creatures are every bit as important as the lion or the tiger, the top line, charismatic mammals that people see.

I’m really invested in fresh water stream fish, little river minnows that are different depending on where they are and the turbidity, temperature and flow of the water they live in. I’m invested in rodents that can live out in desserts with extreme temperature and very little moisture. I’m interested in little brown birds that nobody really pays any attention to that might be on the decline or may be on the upswing. I’m interested in all of it, even parasitic insects. I really want to try to show the world what biodiversity looks like at this point of time, while we still have most of what we arrived here with through evolutionary time. It all matters, and the small stuff, I would argue, matters most.

So as my favourite animal, I’ll pick this tiny one: the long-eared jerboa. The long-eared jerboa is so cute. It is another animal species that’s in serious decline. It’s an animal that lives in really dry conditions. It has huge ears, both for hearing predators and prey and insects and so forth, and they hop around on two legs. They have tiny front legs and giant back legs, a tail and these giant ears, and they are just fantastic-looking. They are so cute and there are not many people that have seen them, but the long-eared jerboa are fantastic animals.”

www.joelsartore.com/gallery/the-photo-ark
www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/photo-ark
www.instagram.com/joelsartore

Photo by Joel Sartore, from the Photo Ark (Joel Sartore / National Geographic).

My Big 5

    Long-Eared Jerboa
    Polar Bear
    Bornean Rhino
    Long-Beaked Echidna
    Siberian Tiger

Joel Sartore

Photographer

“If you are in the conservation and you are in the natural world, you know that the little things really run the planet. You think about the work that ants do, for example. Ants clean up the planet like crazy, insects clean up the planet, as do dung beetles, or scavengers, like vultures. We have a tremendously, complicated and vast system for constantly recycling waste and turning them into living matter again, and those smaller creatures are every bit as important as the lion or the tiger, the top line, charismatic mammals that people see.

I’m really invested in fresh water stream fish, little river minnows that are different depending on where they are and the turbidity, temperature and flow of the water they live in. I’m invested in rodents that can live out in desserts with extreme temperature and very little moisture. I’m interested in little brown birds that nobody really pays any attention to that might be on the decline or may be on the upswing. I’m interested in all of it, even parasitic insects. I really want to try to show the world what biodiversity looks like at this point of time, while we still have most of what we arrived here with through evolutionary time. It all matters, and the small stuff, I would argue, matters most.

So as my favourite animal, I’ll pick this tiny one: the long-eared jerboa. The long-eared jerboa is so cute. It is another animal species that’s in serious decline. It’s an animal that lives in really dry conditions. It has huge ears, both for hearing predators and prey and insects and so forth, and they hop around on two legs. They have tiny front legs and giant back legs, a tail and these giant ears, and they are just fantastic-looking. They are so cute and there are not many people that have seen them, but the long-eared jerboa are fantastic animals.”

Photo by Joel Sartore, from the Photo Ark (Joel Sartore / National Geographic).

My Big 5

    Long-Eared Jerboa
    Polar Bear
    Bornean Rhino
    Long-Beaked Echidna
    Siberian Tiger

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