National Geographic Releases RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species

Some photographs are highly regarded from an artistic standpoint, while others capture an important moment or event.  The photographs captured by Joel Sartore for the new book represent both.

Sartore spent years photographing some of the most endangered species on earth.  Each shot is understated and respectful of the subject; the photos are taken on either a plain white or plain black background.  In all, sixty-nine plants and animals are profiled in the book.

One of the animals featured in the book, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, actually went extinct before the book could be published.  "By photographing the most endangered of our plants and animals," writes Sartore, "I can make the most dramatic plea to get folks to stop and take a look at the pieces and parts that we're throwing away."

The book will be released on March 16th and will run $24 for a hardcover edition (Currently $16 on Amazon).  In addition to the photos, Sartore explains how he was able to capture each image, and details the reality of each creature's situation, from the fantastic comeback of the grey wolf and bald eagle, to the less than 155 Mississippi sandhill cranes left in existence.