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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.

  • 11,230 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.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered St. Vincent parrot (Amazona guildingii) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata marmorata).
  • A green tree python (Morelia viridis) at the Riverside Zoo.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa) at the Houston 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

  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • A larva and a pupa of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) at Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, Nebraska.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • A dhole (Cuon alpinus lepturus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Coyote puppies (Canis latrans).
  • Picture of a Eurasian elk (Alces alces) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta scintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Picture of Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center. Critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • Photo: Hibernating Arctic ground squirrels (Spermopilus parryii) at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Picture of a federally endangered, female Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • Photo: A naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) named Bensar at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center.

Joel Sartore News

Photo Ark Special Premieres October 17th and 24th

at 10/9c on Nat Geo WILD  In the two-hour PHOTO ARK special, tag along with Joel Sartore, Founder of National Geographic Photo Ark. His quest to photograph every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries takes him around the world. He has photographed over 10,000 species and goes to great lengths to photograph thousands more,…

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