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.

  • 8485 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: An endangered Coquerel's sifaka at Lemuria Land in Madagascar.
  • Blue waxbills (Uraeginthus angolensis) (awake or dozing off) are a common sight in Gorongosa's dry, bushy grasslands. So far, nearly 400 bird species have been documented in the park.
  • Picture of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) at the Lincoln Children's 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.
  • Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) at the Lincoln Children's 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 Prevost's squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii prevostii) named 'Walnut' at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a federally endangered jaguar (Panthera onca) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Eastern yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus flavirostris flavirostris) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • Picture of a gliding or Spurrell's tree frog (Agalychnis spurrelli) at the Saint Louis 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.
  • 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)
  • De Brazza's monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Kindu, a Schmidt's red-tailed guenon (Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti). Kindu was hand raised at the Houston Zoo. During bottle feedings, Kindu was given a surrogate stuffed animal that he still loves.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • A female, vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A male wrinkled hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered young, female Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • A Choctawhatchee beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus allophrys) a federally-endangered rodent.
  • Picture of a flock of scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas.