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.

  • 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 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • An endangered golden poison dart frog or terrible poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis) at the Rolling Hills zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) at the Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Photo: A male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Picture of a house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata.)
  • Picture of a Damara zebra (Equus burchellii antiquorum) at the Naples Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) named 'Usi' from the Omaha Zoo.
  • Photo: Gelada baboons (Theropithecus gelada) at Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo, Italy.
  • A young female snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).
  • 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)
  • Two koala joeys cling to each other, waiting to be placed with human caregivers. Once they’re old enough, they’ll be released into the wild.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter 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

  • A picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta sintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • A vulnerable male African lion (Panthera leo krugeri) named Mr. Big at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).
  • Picture of a flock of scarlet ibis (Eudocimus ruber) at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas.
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Photo: Critically endangered citron crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) at Jurong Bird Park.

Joel Sartore News

Annenberg Space for Photography to feature Photo Ark exhibition

On August 13, 2018 Los Angeles Magazine published this story about the upcoming Photo Ark exhibition at the Annenberg space for photography. “Opening on October 13, an exhibit based on Sartore’s project, known as the National Geographic Photo Ark, will open at the gallery, featuring 100 large-format photos of animals. They range from rare and endangered creatures…

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