At least it wasn't the poisonous spitting cobra. But toxic or not, 60 Minutes cameraman Mark LaGanga still had to endure the stinging bite of an angry red rat snake. Welcome to the world of nature photographer Joel Sartore. He's been attacked more times than he'd care to count on his mission to capture images of all the species kept in the world's zoos. 60 Minutes gets a taste of his pain as Bill Whitaker and crew profile the "National Geographic" photographer on a shoot in the Philippines on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.
Sartore had already had a warty hog with tusks like knives jump over his head and had to endure the sickening smell of a stink badger's nasty spray on this shoot when LaGanga got fanged. "I enjoy seeing a 60 Minutes cameraman get bit instead of me." He may not have been kidding. Whitaker and his crew watched him work 12-hour days and photograph up to 20 different species in the hot, humid conditions – typical for him, and that's not counting the bird pecks, snake bites and other affronts he endures.
Sartore may not always love his job but the project is certainly a labor of love for him, as he tries to photograph every mammal, bird, fish, reptile and insect in captivity in an effort to spur conservation efforts. Some of the species he captures scientists predict will become extinct in the wild before the end of this century. He's captured the images of over 8,000 so far, about halfway through his Noah-like mission. He even calls it the Photo Ark.
All are welcome on this ark, no matter if they snarl or smell. Noah had an important job. So does Sartore. "There's nobody else coming along to photograph a stink badger. I'm the only one. And that's the case for 90 percent of the species I photograph, maybe 95 percent, he tells Whitaker. "These are things that nobody will ever know existed if it weren't for the Photo Ark."