National Geographic Talks To Joel Sartore About The Elusive Leadbeater's Possum

Joel documents endangered species and landscapes all over the world.

“It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” he says. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.” - Joel Satore

The Leadbeater’s Possum is one of several Australian animals you are photographing while you are here.

Why is it so important to shine a light on this animal in particular and others you are photographing while you're here?

Because this one and so many others are at risk of extinction. The critical first step is education--that's where the Photo Ark comes in. People won't save what they don't know exists!

How do you see the photo ark helping endangered species?

We hope to get people to meet, then fall in love with, all creatures great and small.

Image: Tasmanian Devil, Joel Satore/Photo Ark

You’ve photographed Australian wildlife before, in what way is our fauna different from others you’ve photographed, what makes them unique?

Loads of Marsupial mammals, beautiful birds, and reptiles unlike anything else on Earth.
It's simply spectacular.

Which Australian animal has been your favourite to photograph and why?

I try not to pick favourites, but I always say it's 'the next one' that I get to photograph. I'm just as excited about a mouse as I am an elephant. They're all regal to me and worthy of our respect.

Image: Kangaroo, Joel Satore/Photo Ark

How can people at home contribute to the cause?

Become a member of Zoos Victoria. They not only breed critically endangered species, but they educate future generations as to the importance of saving species. As they go, so could we.

Image: Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat, Joel Satore/Photo Ark

Beyond that, great stewardship starts at home:

Use no chemicals on your lawn of any kind.

Eat less meat.

Insulate your home.

Don't buy products that use palm oil.

Use public transportation.

Reduce what you buy, reuse what you buy, and then recycle what you buy.

Header: Leadbeater's possum, Healesville Sanctuary

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