PBS' 'Photo Ark' is a wake-up call for endangered animals

This undated image released by PBS shows an endangered Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) at Lemuria Land in Madagascar. National Geographic photog

This image released by PBS shows National Geographic Joel Sartore covered with Monarch butterflies in the Sierra Chincua monarch sanctuary in Mexico.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is spending a decade-plus of his life documenting thousands of animal species in what he calls a "photo ark."

He said his goal is to make people care about protecting the many rare and engendered animals in danger of vanishing.

Sartore's quest is detailed in the PBS series "Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark." The three-part series debuts 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday (check local listings) on PBS stations and online.

If his images of beauty and vulnerability fail to sway people, he said, maybe self-interest will.

The rare creatures featured in the WGBH Boston series include New Zealand's kakapo, a flightless bird, and the Yangtze giant softshell turtle in China.