Joel Sartore didn't set out to create a Photo Ark. It began as an act of desperation, when his wife, Kathy, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he needed to stay home in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"I thought, I need to shoot something. Kathy's gonna be sick for a long time, and on the days when she felt better through her chemo cycles, I just needed something to shoot."
So this world traveler, who's shot 35 stories for National Geographic (including six covers), drove to the Lincoln Children's Zoo, a mile from his house, and asked if he could photograph the animals.
Pictured: A curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii), photographed at the Dallas World Aquarium.