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.
  • A federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) named Lucy at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Coyote puppies (Canis latrans).
  • 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.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • A studio portrait of a gerenuk (Lictocranius walleri) at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
  • Picture of a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
  • A federally endangered female desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) named April at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California.
  • Picture of a curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Picture of a critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • A vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • A young female snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).
  • A larva and a pupa of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) at Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, Nebraska.
  • Gladys, a six-week-old western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Cincinnati Zoo. Listed as critically endangered and federally endangered.
  • 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

  • Picture of a critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) named "Presley" at the Duke Lemur Center.
  • A superb bird of paradise (Lophorina superba) displays iridescent chest feathers at the Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) at the Newport Aquarium.
  • Like all gibbons, the gray gibbon has unusually long arms which are used to move through trees and to forage. This endangered species is being 'phased out' at zoos because there are too few in captivity to keep bloodlines vital and the species isn't showy.
  • Picture of a Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Picture of a federally endangered, female Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) named Bensar at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • Picture of a critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, India.