Joel Sartore spent three recent weeks in Indonesia, producing portraits of some of the world’s rarest animals.
It’s part of his Photo Ark project, a 25-year effort to photograph the roughly 12,000 species in zoos and animal sanctuaries. The Lincoln-based National Geographic photographer launched the initiative in 2005, concerned that half of the animals could be lost to extinction by the end of the century.
He wasn’t worried about them getting stolen, too.
But Friday night, his black Samsonite carry-on disappeared from the Bali airport. The rolling suitcase contained his computer, camera, passport and three hard drives — filled with images and videos of the animals he’d encountered in Indonesia.
“All were destined to become part of the Photo Ark,” he posted to his 1.4 million Instagram followers and 102,000 Facebook followers Saturday. “I need your help now to bring these hard drives home. No questions asked.”
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His Instagram account and Facebook page are dominated by close-ups of wildlife — the Majorcan midwife toad, the Bermuda diamondback terrapin, numbats, caribou and golden-headed quetzal — all of them photographed with his trademark intimacy and clarity.
That was part of his goal when he started the project, he wrote on his website. “Perhaps a series of portraits, made as simply and cleanly as possible, would give us all a chance to look animals directly in the eye and see that there’s beauty, grace, and intelligence in the other creatures we share the planet with.”
Saturday, though, he posted a close-up photo showing what the stolen hard drives looked like and soon received more than 1,400 comments — offering advice, prayers and gratitude for his work.
Sartore couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
The life and work of Lincoln's Joel Sartore
Sartore with owl
Blue poison dart frog
Fiat Lux show
Dog images on soundproofing panels
Debit card art
Joel Sartore caricature
Kathy and Joel Sartore
Asian lady beetle
Morrill Hall banners
Salt Creek tiger beetle
Morrill Hall banners
Joel Sartore shares with the audience
Reimann's snake-necked turtle
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, Montana, 1995
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