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.

  • 12,907 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 a 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Photo: A central Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) at the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Like all gibbons, the gray gibbon has unusually long arms which are used to move through trees and to forage. This endangered species is being 'phased out' at zoos because there are too few in captivity to keep bloodlines vital and the species isn't showy.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • Nicobar pigeon, Caloenas nicobarica, at the Omaha 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

  • Picture of a critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Photo: An Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis affinis) at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Photo: Negros scops owl (Otus nigrorum) at Negros Forest Park in Bacolod City, Negros Island, the Philippines.
  • Photo: Critically endangered citron crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) at Jurong Bird Park.
  • An 18-year-old male tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo (Bubalus mindorensis) named Kalibasib at Tamaraw Gene Pool Farm on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. This species is critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Picture of a vulnerable male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at Pure Aquariums.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered red wolf (Canis rufus gregoryi) at the Great Plains Zoo.
  • Photo: A male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Picture of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of a Texas coral snake (Micrurus tener tener) at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

Photo Ark exhibit visits Lincoln Children’s Zoo

The Photo Ark is going back to where it all started — literally.   From now until June 20th the Lincoln Children’s Zoo will be hosting a Photo Ark gallery, inviting guests to get up close and personal with images from the Ark.   Over 15 years ago the Photo Ark began at the Lincoln…

Get the Story