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.

  • 9844 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.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California.
  • A vulnerable pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard, Panthera pardus saxicolor, at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Sierra Chincua, Mexico.
  • Picture of an endangered white fronted capuchin (Cebus versicolor) at the Summit Municipal Park in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Photo: A vulnerable greater Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus orientalis) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Two koala joeys cling to each other, waiting to be placed with human caregivers. Once they’re old enough, they’ll be released into the wild.
  • Colombian green jay or Inca jay (Cyanocorax yncas) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • An endangered Malayan tiger, Panthera tigris jacksoni, at the Omaha Zoo. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Photo: Augustine, a mother koala with her young ones Gus and Rupert (one is adopted and one is her own offspring) at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
  • Picture of a row of critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • A three-month-old caracal (Caracal caracal) at the Columbus 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

  • Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. Listed as critically endangered and federally endangered.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) at Ocean Park.
  • Picture of an endangered white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park 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 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A female, vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A male ostrich (Struthio camelus australis) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
  • A red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A vulnerable male African lion (Panthera leo krugeri) named Mr. Big at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo. These frogs sit completely still all day long and blend in with the surrounding leaves. They have the ability to change the green tint of their skin to make it harder for predators to see them.

Joel Sartore News

Texas Ocelot License Plate

One of our favorite ocelot images is featured on a new Texas conservation themed license plate. Proceeds benefit Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The LANWR is the largest protected area of natural habitat left in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Find out more information: https://www.texasocelots.com/  

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