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.
  • Picture of a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County 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.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • Photo: An endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) at the Madrid Zoo.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Photo: Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • 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 a vulnerable adult female white bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) with her baby, part of Pangolin Conservation, a non-profit organization in Saint Augustine, Florida.
  • Picture of a federally threatened, Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) named Yukon at the Point Defiance Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable four-horned antelope and fawn (Tetracerus quadricornis) at the Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden in India.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A vulnerable male African lion (Panthera leo krugeri) named Mr. Big at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a bull elk with his antlers in velvet (Cervus canadensis) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Picture of a flock of scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas.
  • Picture of a critically endangered female northern white cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Picture of a Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus pardinoides) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • A federally endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center.
  • Two Pallas's cats (Otocolobus manul) at the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) named 'Usi' from the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a Damara zebra (Equus burchellii antiquorum) at the Naples Zoo.
  • A West Usambara two-horned chameleon (Kinyongia multituberculata) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered rowi kiwi or okarito kiwi (Apteryx rowi) at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • Picture of a Eurasian elk (Alces alces) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

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