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.

  • 11,494 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.
  • Critically endangered (IUCN) Sulawesi macaques (Macaca nigra) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A half-day-old hatchling leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) from the wild in Bioko. This species is listed as critically endangered by IUCN, and federally endangered (US).
  • A West Usambara two-horned chameleon (Kinyongia multituberculata) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Picture of a Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) at the National Aviary of Colombia.
  • Photo: A Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered pileated gibbon with her eight-month-old infant (Hylobates pileatus) at the Gibbon Conservation 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

  • Photo: Baby aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) named Tonks, 16 days old, at the Denver Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A three-month-old baby chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) named Ruben at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • Photo: A Philippine warty pig (Sus philippensis philippensis) at the Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
  • Budgett's frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) at the Baltimore Aquarium.
  • Picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A young female snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)at the Raptor Recovery Center, in Elmwood, Nebraska.
  • Photo: Mindanao squirrel (Sundasciurus mindanensis) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • Photo: A tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.
  • Photo: An aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) named Endora at Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Picture of near threatened silvery langur (Trachypithecus cristatus) at the Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered, male Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.

Joel Sartore News

Photo Ark Madness 2021

Photo Ark Madness 2021 has come to an end. Through my Instagram @joelsartore, supporters of the Photo Ark voted on their favorite species. The top four contestants are featured in a print sale until April 9th!* 1st place is Teiku, the two-month old, federally endangered jaguar cub (Panthera onca). Traditional prints of ANI019-00507 are 30%…

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