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.

  • 9000 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 ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Photo: A rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) at the Exmoor Zoo in England.
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • Photo: A Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • Picture of an opossum (Didelphis virginiana) with babies.
  • Photo: Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California.
  • Picture of a rusty-spotted genet or Central African large-spotted genet (Genetta maculata) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Picture of a male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, KS.
  • Picture of Terri, a hand-raised, female Javan rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros silvestris) at the Cincinnati 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

  • Picture of Nabire, a Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)
  • Picture of a federally endangered, female Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • Nicobar pigeon, Caloenas nicobarica, at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata).
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • Picture of an endangered pileated gibbon with her eight-month-old infant (Hylobates pileatus) at the Gibbon Conservation Center
  • Picture of a flock of scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas.
  • Portraits of Hyloscirtus pantostictus at a captive breeding at Pontificia Universidad Catòlica in Quito, Ecuador. This is an endangered frog. This is the only one in captivity and it could be extinct in the wild. (IUCN: EN)
  • Picture of Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center. Critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • An endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: Critically endangered citron crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) at Jurong Bird Park.
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Sierra Chincua, Mexico.