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.

  • 11,700 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.
  • Crowned iguana (Laemanctus serratus) from the Omaha Zoo.
  • Photo: EdwardÕs fig parrot (Psittaculirostris edwardsii) at Loro Parque Fundacion.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • A northern red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo. This unusual Amazon basin parrot has a crown of brightly-colored head feathers it raises when it feels threatened or aggressive.
  • Photo: An endangered Peruvian woolly monkey (Lagothrix cana) at Cetas-IBAMA, a wildlife rehab center in Manaus, Brazil.
  • 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 critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Photo: Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • Picture of a row of critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) wolverine (Gulo gulo) named Stinky, a candidate species for federal protection.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California.
  • Photo: Negros scops owl (Otus nigrorum) at Negros Forest Park in Bacolod City, Negros Island, the Philippines.
  • A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) at the Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • Photo: Visayan leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis rabori) at the Avilon Zoo.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.
  • A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) named Bensar at the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • 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 curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A pair of Australian rainbow lorikeets crossed with Forsten's lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus x Trichoglossus forstenii) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • Photo: Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) at the Newport Aquarium.
  • A federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) named Lucy at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) at the Columbus Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

15 Years of Photo Ark

    The Photo Ark began 15 years ago on August 9, 2006! To celebrate our anniversary we’re hosting a print sale of our entire print inventory, including this limited time only montage! Get 25% off for one print, 30% off when purchasing two prints, and 40% off your entire print order when you buy three prints! (This…

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