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.

  • 9000 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.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • Yellow-streaked lory (Chalcopsitta sintillata rubrifrons) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Picture of a male Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Blue waxbills (Uraeginthus angolensis) (awake or dozing off) are a common sight in Gorongosa's dry, bushy grasslands. So far, nearly 400 bird species have been documented in the park.
  • 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)
  • 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

  • An endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of an albino porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) named Halsey at the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Louisville, NE.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • Picture of an endangered sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Picture of an endangered white fronted capuchin (Cebus versicolor) at the Summit Municipal Park in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Colombian green jay or Inca jay (Cyanocorax yncas) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered red wolf (Canis rufus gregoryi) at the Great Plains Zoo.
  • Photo: A dhole (Cuon alpinus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. Listed as critically endangered and federally endangered.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of crested wood partridges (Rollulus rouloul) at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
  • Picture of a 10-week-old fennec fox kit (Vulpes zerda) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Picture of a federally threatened, Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) named Yukon at the Point Defiance Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) at the Dallas World Aquarium.