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.
  • Photo: Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus pardinoides) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • Photo: An ankole-watusi (Bos taurus watusi) at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, KS.
  • Pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of a nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • 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

  • Yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta sintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) at the Toronto Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A three-month-old caracal (Caracal caracal) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Photo: A dhole (Cuon alpinus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • 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.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered, male Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • Picture of an endangered pileated gibbon with her eight-month-old infant (Hylobates pileatus) at the Gibbon Conservation 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.
  • A giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at Zoo Atlanta. This endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered species is native to China.
  • Photo: Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) at the Newport Aquarium.
  • An endangered golden poison dart frog or terrible poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis) at the Rolling Hills zoo.
  • A larva and a pupa of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) at Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, Nebraska.
  • A pair of blue poison dart frogs (Dendrobates azureus) at Reptile Gardens.
  • Photo: An Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis affinis) at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
  • Picture of Spotted jellyfish (Mastigias papua) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.