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Photo: Joel Sartore on assignment at Sierra Chincua (Chincua Mountain) in Mexico, a wintering spot for monarch butterflies.

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.

  • 10000 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.
  • A critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, KS.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Picture of a bull elk with his antlers in velvet (Cervus canadensis) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • Photo: A vulnerable greater Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus orientalis) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • 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 Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A dhole (Cuon alpinus lepturus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) at the Madrid Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) at the Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • Picture of Nabire, a Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Photo: A naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of a rusty-spotted genet or Central African large-spotted genet (Genetta maculata) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Picture of Terri, a hand-raised, female Javan rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros silvestris) at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered.
  • Nicobar pigeon, Caloenas nicobarica, at the Omaha Zoo.