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: Critically endangered citron crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) at Jurong Bird Park.
  • A federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) named Lucy at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • A yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta scintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Oblong-winged katydids (Amblycorypha oblongifolia) at the Insectarium in New Orleans. These color variants are found in nature, though anything but green is usually eaten by predators immediately. The Insectarium has been a leader in breeding these color variants for display in the zoo community.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park 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 half-day-old hatchling leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) from the wild in Bioko. This species is listed as critically endangered by IUCN, and federally endangered (US).
  • Photo: A rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus phillips) at the Exmoor Zoo in England.
  • Photo: A Equatorial spitting cobra (Naja sumatrana miolepis) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • A captive, five-month-old mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. IUCN: Vulnerable
  • Photo: A Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • 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.
  • A vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • Photo: Palawan stink badger (Mydaus marchei) at Avilon Zoo.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Picture of Federally threatened spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • Picture of Spotted jellyfish (Mastigias papua) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • Photo: Caterpillar of orange lacewing (Cethosia penthesilea) at Melbourne Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable adult female white bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) with her baby, part of Pangolin Conservation, a non-profit organization in Saint Augustine, Florida.
  • Portraits of 'Orange', the last dusky seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens). This species went extinct in 1987, after their last habitats in northeast Florida were ruined by man, from the construction of an expressway to mosquito spraying. The bird, along with 'blue' another one of the last to die, are kept in vials of alcohol in the Natural History Museum at Florida State University.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • Picture of a 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A three-month-old baby chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) named Ruben at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • South Georgia king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus patagonicus) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • The talons of a South American great horned owl (Bubo virginianus nacurutu) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.

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…

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