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.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A northern red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo. This unusual Amazon basin parrot has a crown of brightly-colored head feathers it raises when it feels threatened or aggressive.
  • An Andean porcupine (Coendou quichua) named Piper at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Picture of Rajah, an endangered, male white Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
  • 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

  • A compton tortoiseshell butterfly (Nymphalis vaualbum) from Cross Lake, Minnesota.
  • Coyote puppies (Canis latrans).
  • Photo: A rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus phillips) at the Exmoor Zoo in England.
  • Photo: Domestic rats at the Sunset Zoo.
  • Budgett's frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) at the Baltimore Aquarium.
  • Two koala joeys (Phascolarctos cinereus) cling to each other, waiting to be placed with human caregivers at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Queensland. Once they're old enough, they'll be released into the wild.
  • Photo: An endangered, female Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini panini) at Negros Forest Park.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Kalibasib an 18-year-old male tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo (Bubalus mindorensis) at Tamaraw Gene Pool Farm on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. This species is critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Photo: A Equatorial spitting cobra (Naja sumatrana miolepis) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • A white-lipped island pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis) at the Woodland Park Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

Manfrotto International Ambassador

Joel is proud to announce he’s now a member of the Manfrotto International Ambassadors team. Manfrotto’s International Ambassador team is composed of the most notable imaging professionals, who inspire our community to Imagine More.      

Get the Story