I'm Joel Sartore.

Man on a Mission:
Building the Photo Ark

I’m Joel Sartore.

Ever wonder about those wildlife photographers who risk life and limb to get the perfect shot? That’s me. I’ve spent 25 years with National Geographic—and I’ve got the stories and scars to prove it. These days my focus is on the Photo Ark, the world’s largest collection of animal studio portraits. My goal is simple: to get the public to care and save species from extinction.

  • 11,926 species photographed for the Photo Ark
     I'm Joel Sartore.
  • A modern-day Noah

  • 1 porcupine named Piper on the cover of

    National Geographic

    Photo: *Brazilian porcupine (Coendou quichua) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • 4 times chased by grizzlies
    Picture of a grizzly bear, Ursus arctos horribilis, at Sedgewick County Zoo.
  • 300 talks given worldwide
     I'm Joel Sartore.
  • 2 spitting cobras found in camera gear
    Picture of a red spitting cobra (Naja pallida) at the St. Louis Zoo.

Speaking Engagements

“Joel never fails to dazzle.”
Known for his sense of humor and incredible stories from the field, Joel is a popular speaker with conservation, corporate, and civic groups.

Hire him to entertain and inspire your audience.

Book Joel to Speak

Recent Talks

  •  I'm Joel Sartore.
  •  I'm Joel Sartore.
  •  I'm Joel Sartore.
  •  I'm Joel Sartore.
  •  I'm Joel Sartore.

    Photo Ark logo

    Joel is the founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year effort to photograph every species in human care around the globe.

    Explore the Photo Ark

  • Photo: A central Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) at the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • The critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of the rarest birds in the world with fewer than 50 left in the wild.
  • Photo: Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata marmorata).
  • Photo: A proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) at the Singapore Zoo.
  • Photo: An endangered, female Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini panini) at Negros Forest Park.
  • Photo: Dragon headed katydid (Lesina intermedia) at Malacca Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary.
  • Photo: Eastern grass owl (Tyto longimembris amauronota) at Avilon Zoo.
  • Photo: A grizzled tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus) at a private collection in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) at Conservation Fisheries. Shown is an adult with juveniles.
  • An endangered baby Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) named Aurora, with her adoptive mother, Cheyenne, a Bornean/Sumatran cross (Pongo pygmaeus x abelii) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: Edward's fig parrot (Psittaculirostris edwardsii) at Loro Parque Fundacion.
  • Photo: A vulnerable Siamese fighting fish or betta (Betta splendens) in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • A red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas), at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, KS.
  • Picture of a critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.

Joel Sartore News

General Hospital features the Photo Ark

Well, this is something I never thought I’d do; be on a soap opera! But the entire cast and crew of @generalhospitalabc could not have been nicer, even when I flubbed my lines. I was on the set to tape an episode that features Photo Ark images that were on display in their Jerome Gallery. Such…

Get the Story