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.

  • 9844 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 an endangered sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Picture of a critically endangered Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) at Zealandia, in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Picture of a curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • 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.
  • 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 red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • A three-month-old baby chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) named Ruben at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • A half-day-old hatchling leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) from the wild in Bioko. This species is listed as critically endangered by IUCN, and federally endangered (US).
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • A green tree python (Morelia viridis) at the Riverside Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. Listed as critically endangered and federally endangered.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • 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.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) named 'Usi' from the Omaha Zoo.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Photo: A Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally 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 young female snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).

Joel Sartore News

Joel Sartore on saving endangered species – and ourselves

On January 5, 2020 CBS news published this story about extinction. ” We must have intact rainforests to produce dependable amounts of rain to grow our crops. We need healthy seas to generate much of the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe. And we need pollinating insects as well to bring us fruits…

Get the Story