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.

    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: Negros scops owl (Otus nigrorum) at Negros Forest Park in Bacolod City, Negros Island, the Philippines.
  • Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri) also known as Leadbeater's cockatoo or pink cockatoo, at Parrots in Paradise, a bird attraction in Glass House Mountains, Queensland.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) at Conservation Fisheries. Shown is an adult with juveniles.
  • Picture of a common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Aquarium.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • Picture of a federally endangered mother and son jaguar (Panthera onca) at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, FL.
  • Picture of two endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered red-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) from the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Photo: A critically endangered Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) at Taman Safari.
  • Picture of a critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, India.
  • Photo: An endangered, female Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini panini) at Negros Forest Park.
  • 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.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Photo: Single wattled cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus unappendiculatus) at Avilon Zoo.
  • Photo: A tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a Eurasian elk (Alces alces) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A St. Andrew beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus peninsularis), a federally endangered rodent, in Panama City, FL. This and several other beach mice subspecies are imperiled due to beach development. (US: Endangered)
  • Crowned iguana (Laemanctus serratus) from the Omaha Zoo.
  • Photo: Buffy laughingthrush (Garrulax berthemyi) in Arona, Tenerife, Spain.

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…

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