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.

  • 8754 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

  • A picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Sierra Chincua, Mexico.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.
  • A male okapi (Okapia johnstoni) at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) at the Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • A green tree python (Morelia viridis) at the Riverside Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • Purple-banded sunbird (Nectarinia bifasciata) at Chitengo Camp, in Gorongosa National Park.
  • Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the twin giant panda cubs (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • A captive, five-month-old mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. IUCN: Vulnerable
  • Photo: A Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • Picture of a critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) named "Presley" at the Duke Lemur Center.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) at the Budapest Zoo.