I'm Joel Sartore.

Joel with Bill Whitaker & the 60 Minutes crew in the Philippines.

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.

  • 9585 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 Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • A picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • Picture of a vulnerable male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at Pure Aquariums.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • A larva and a pupa of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) at Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, Nebraska.
  • A critically endangered sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii, at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo. These frogs sit completely still all day long and blend in with the surrounding leaves. They have the ability to change the green tint of their skin to make it harder for predators to see them.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • Picture of a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
  • A critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, KS.
  • 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 an endangered yellow-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Picture of a rusty-spotted genet or Central African large-spotted genet (Genetta maculata) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • 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.
  • Photo: An aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) named Endora at Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.
  • A spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata).
  • Blue waxbills (Uraeginthus angolensis) (awake or dozing off) are a common sight in Gorongosa's dry, bushy grasslands. So far, nearly 400 bird species have been documented in the park.
  • 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).
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered.

Joel Sartore News

On the brink: The Endangered Species Act

On July 21, 2019 CBS news published this story about the Endangered Species Act. “The good news is that 99% of them have not been declared extinct. The not-so-good news is that only 2% have recovered, like the bald eagle and the American alligator.”  

Get the Story