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.

  • 8754 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 rowi kiwi or okarito kiwi (Apteryx rowi) at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • Photo: An Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis affinis) at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • Nicobar pigeon, Caloenas nicobarica, at the Omaha Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of Terri, a hand-raised, female Javan rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros silvestris) at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • A three-month-old caracal (Caracal caracal) at the Columbus 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

  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Sierra Chincua, Mexico.
  • 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)
  • Picture of a federally endangered Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) at the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden in Guwahati, Assam, India.
  • A critically endangered sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii, at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Picture of a Peruvian giant yellow-leg centipede or Amazonian giant centipede (Scolopendra gigantea) at the National Aviary of Colombia.
  • Picture of a vulnerable male Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at Pure Aquariums.
  • A Coopers hawk (Accipiter cooperii) at Raptor Recovery Nebraska.
  • A vulnerable pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) at the Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • Picture of Rajah, an endangered, male white Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
  • Picture of a critically endangered female northern white cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.