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.

  • 8485 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 a critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Photo: A Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: A vulnerable greater Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus orientalis) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: A male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • A female, vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • Like all gibbons, the gray gibbon has unusually long arms which are used to move through trees and to forage. This endangered species is being 'phased out' at zoos because there are too few in captivity to keep bloodlines vital and the species isn't showy.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Picture of a Damara zebra (Equus burchellii antiquorum) at the Naples Zoo.
  • A St. Andrew beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus peninsularis), a federally endangered rodent, in Panama City, FL. This and several other beach mice subspecies are imperiled due to beach development. (US: Endangered)
  • Picture of a male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • 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

  • Photo: A Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) photographed on the grounds of the Symington Estates in Portugal.
  • Picture of an endangered sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • A pair of blue poison dart frogs (Dendrobates azureus) at Reptile Gardens.
  • A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) named Bensar at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • Picture of Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center. Critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally-endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo. The population trend of the clouded leopard is decreasing with less than 10,000 in the wild.
  • Picture of a veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • A white-lipped island pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis) at the Woodland Park Zoo.
  • An Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) at the Omaha Zoo.