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.

  • 8754 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 crested wood partridges (Rollulus rouloul) at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • Picture of an albino porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) named Halsey at the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Louisville, NE.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • A green tree python (Morelia viridis) at the Riverside Zoo.
  • Coyote puppies (Canis latrans).
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Photo: A mother koala named Augustine and her baby.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Photo: A naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered rowi kiwi or okarito kiwi (Apteryx rowi) at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • 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 29-year-old endangered male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) named Billy at the LA Zoo.
  • Colombian green jay or Inca jay (Cyanocorax yncas) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • Photo: A killer whale also called an orca whale, Orcinus orca, named Kayla at SeaWorld in Orlando, FL. Kayla is 27 years old, weighs 5,600 pounds and is 19 feet long.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • Picture of a vulnerable secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) at the Toronto Zoo.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.