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on Jun 4, 2009 in Moose's Heroes

Joel Sartore

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The very last dusky seaside sparrow is at rest in a jar of
preservative fluid at a Florida museum. The species is extinct, and
there?s no going back. Worldwide, thousands of endangered species are
on the same path, but there?s still time to save them. The United
States has a unique tool, the Endangered Species Act, in the fight to
keep these creatures from slipping away forever.

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For photographer Joel Sartore, the concept of extinction started out
as a photo of Martha, the last passenger pigeon. After seeing the
image as a child, he wondered how something so numerous could go away
completely. As the focus of his professional career shifted toward
environmental issues, the reason Martha and her kind vanished became
plain as day: people will only save what they care about, and they
will only care about that which they know.

Imperiled species range from practically weightless flies to massive
mammals, and one of the first challenges the team faced was how to
give very different creatures equal consideration. Studio backgrounds
let flies become as large as grizzly bears, and illustrate each
subject?s unique characteristics.

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Though the Endangered Species Act has undergone significant changes
over the last eight years, habitat loss, one of the primary causes of
extinction, has marched on no matter who was in office. A law can help
protect endangered creatures, but ultimately it?s up to us. It is
the team?s hope that this story will engage readers in the lives of
endangered flowers, flies, ocelots and grizzly bears before it?s too
late.

Joel Sartore Photography – www.joelsartore.com – 402.474.1006