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.

  • 14,005 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.
  • 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.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) at Conservation Fisheries. Shown is an adult with juveniles.
  • Photo: Mediterranean jelly or fried egg jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) at Loro Parque's aquarium in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain
  • Photo: Visayan leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis rabori) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • A pair of four-week-old old Asian leopard cats, (Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis). These two were found abandoned by their mother in a burning field and brought to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a wildlife rehab center in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • Picture of Spotted jellyfish (Mastigias papua) 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

  • A three-month-old baby chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) named Ruben at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • Picture of a Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • A male okapi (Okapia johnstoni) at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • Photo: A juvenile little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis ruficollis) at Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue.
  • A male common genet (Genetta genetta), named Little Guy at the Conservators center.
  • Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the twin giant panda cubs (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • D.J. is an 11-month-old Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Dirgahayu “Ayu” is an 11-month-old Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Unfortunately, both species are critically endangered, in large part due to the palm oil crisis. Both of these juvenile primates are cared for by the Taman Safari in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.
  • A federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) named Lucy at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered six-month-old western red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) named Cinnamon at the Virginia Zoo.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered silvery Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch) at the Gibbon Conservation Center.
  • Picture of a naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A picture of a federally endangered New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae) at The Animal Sanctuary, an animal rehab center in Warkworth, New Zealand.

Joel Sartore News

Photo Ark 14,000th Species Announcement

The Photo Ark is excited to welcome the 14,000th species!   Jolie, an Indochinese green magpie (Cissa hypoleuca), was photographed at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, where she serves as an ambassador for her species and captures visitors’ attention with her vibrant colors, bold personality and curiosity.   While Jolie pops with greens,…

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