I'm Joel Sartore.

Joel with Bill Whitaker & the 60 Minutes crew in the Philippines.

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.

  • 9585 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.
  • A federally endangered female desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) named April at The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California.
  • Picture of a critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) named "Presley" at the Duke Lemur Center.
  • Photo: A naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • An Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) at the Omaha 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

  • Photo: A rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) at the Exmoor Zoo in England.
  • Picture of crested wood partridges (Rollulus rouloul) at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Sierra Chincua, Mexico.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • A green tree python (Morelia viridis) at the Riverside Zoo.
  • 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.
  • Picture of a Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) at the National Aviary of Colombia.
  • Picture of an albino porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) named Halsey at the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Louisville, NE.
  • Picture of a male Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • 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 naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) wolverine (Gulo gulo) named Stinky, a candidate species for federal protection.
  • Yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta sintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Photo: A male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • The critically-endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. This is one of the rarest birds in the world with fewer than 50 left in the wild.
  • An endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A vulnerable pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska.

Joel Sartore News

On the brink: The Endangered Species Act

On July 21, 2019 CBS news published this story about the Endangered Species Act. “The good news is that 99% of them have not been declared extinct. The not-so-good news is that only 2% have recovered, like the bald eagle and the American alligator.”  

Get the Story