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.

  • 9000 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 male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Picture of a Damara zebra (Equus burchellii antiquorum) at the Naples Zoo.
  • Two Pallas's cats (Otocolobus manul) at the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston 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.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama. (Not available for licensing.)
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • A West Usambara two-horned chameleon (Kinyongia multituberculata) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A superb bird of paradise (Lophorina superba) displays iridescent chest feathers at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered rowi kiwi or okarito kiwi (Apteryx rowi) at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered white fronted capuchin (Cebus versicolor) at the Summit Municipal Park in Gamboa, Panama.
  • 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. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Photo: An aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) named Endora at Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered, male Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • Picture of a Eurasian elk (Alces alces) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the twin giant panda cubs (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • Picture of a critically endangered female northern white cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.