16-Year-Old Attempts to Take Picture with Every Animal on Earth (Almost)

10/18/2012 at 05:40 PM EDT

  • Tallon Nightwalker
    Courtesy Tallon NIghtwalker
  • Courtesy Tallon NIghtwalker
  • Courtesy Tallon NIghtwalker
  • Courtesy Tallon NIghtwalker
  • Tallon Nightwalker
    Courtesy Tallon Nightwalker
Call it Tallon's Ark: One by one, this 16-year-old from Fort Collins, Colo., has been taking his picture with every new animal species he encounters. His tally so far: 840.

Tallon Nightwalker began his quest when he was 5 years old. His father Bob Nightwalker, a single dad, has helped in documenting the project, which is an attempt to "get pictures with as many different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians before they disappear," according to Tallon's Facebook page.

The rules are that the animal must be touching or close to Tallon, but there cannot be a barrier (like a cage) between them. He has held boa constrictors, let a peace-faced lovebird sit on his head and kissed a wolf.

Lately, there have been a lot of snakes, but there have been animals of the furrier (and less exotic) variety, too. Over the years, as Tallon has grown, changed haircuts and adopted a more serious camera pose, one thing has remained constant: his intention to spotlight the plight of the planet's many endangered animal species.

Reads Tallon's Facebook page: "Our hope is that these photos will raise an awareness for conservation, biodiversity, and encourage people to appreciate and protect animals of all shapes and sizes."

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