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.

  • 8485 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 critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • 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 vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Colombian green jay or Inca jay (Cyanocorax yncas) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • A three-month-old caracal (Caracal caracal) at the Columbus 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

  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • Picture of a rusty-spotted genet or Central African large-spotted genet (Genetta maculata) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Photo: Augustine, a mother koala with her young ones Gus and Rupert (one is adopted and one is her own offspring) at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
  • A vulnerable pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Picture of a vulnerable male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at Pure Aquariums.
  • A picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Picture of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • Photo: Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • Picture of a 29-year-old endangered male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) named Billy at the LA Zoo.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) wolverine (Gulo gulo) named Stinky, a candidate species for federal protection.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered red wolf (Canis rufus gregoryi) at the Great Plains Zoo.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.