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.

  • 11,926 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 endangered Malayan tiger, Panthera tigris jacksoni, at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) at Conservation Fisheries. Shown is an adult with juveniles.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • Photo: A central Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) at the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
  • Picture of a row of critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • 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 male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Photo: A Equatorial spitting cobra (Naja sumatrana miolepis) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • A northern red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo. This unusual Amazon basin parrot has a crown of brightly-colored head feathers it raises when it feels threatened or aggressive.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • Photo: Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) at the Newport Aquarium.
  • Photo: Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta syrichta) at Avilon Zoo. This animal has the second largest eyes in the world compared to brain size.
  • A three-month-old caracal (Caracal caracal) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) also known as Leadbeater's cockatoo or pink cockatoo, at Parrots in Paradise, a bird attraction in Glass House Mountains, Queensland.
  • The critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of the rarest birds in the world with fewer than 50 left in the wild.
  • Picture of Federally threatened spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • Picture of a federally endangered New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) at The Animal Sanctuary, an animal rehab center in Warkworth, New Zealand.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a diablito, also known as a little devil poison frog (Oophaga sylvatica) Bilsa, Ecuador locality, from a private collection.
  • A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata marmorata).

Joel Sartore News

Manfrotto International Ambassador

Joel is proud to announce he’s now a member of the Manfrotto International Ambassadors team. Manfrotto’s International Ambassador team is composed of the most notable imaging professionals, who inspire our community to Imagine More.      

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