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.

  • 12,476 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.
  • Joel Sartore prepares to photograph El Segundo flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus terminatus). With fewer than 100 individuals left on Earth, this species is as close to extinction as you can get. This animal was thought to be extinct since the end of the 1960s but a small remnant population was discovered in the early 2000s.
  • Pahu, the Bornean rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) at the Kelian Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. This species is listed as critically endangered and the population is in decline.
  • Budgett's frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) at the Baltimore Aquarium.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver 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 an endangered Southern yellow-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus gabriellae) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Picture of a critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, India.
  • Picture of an Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: Horsfield's tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus borneanus) at Taman Safari.
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Picture of a diablito, also known as a little devil poison frog (Oophaga sylvatica) Bilsa, Ecuador locality, from a private collection.
  • Picture of a Plain pigeon (Patagioenas inornata) at the Parque Zoologico Nacional in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.
  • Picture of Spotted jellyfish (Mastigias papua) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • A female, vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A pair of Australian rainbow lorikeets crossed with Forsten's lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus x Trichoglossus forstenii) at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

Photo Ark exhibit visits Lincoln Children’s Zoo

The Photo Ark is going back to where it all started — literally.   From now until June 20th the Lincoln Children’s Zoo will be hosting a Photo Ark gallery, inviting guests to get up close and personal with images from the Ark.   Over 15 years ago the Photo Ark began at the Lincoln…

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