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.
  • A federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) named Lucy at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
  • Picture of Terri, a hand-raised, female Javan rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros silvestris) at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Picture of a Eurasian elk (Alces alces) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered rowi kiwi or okarito kiwi (Apteryx rowi) at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand.
  • 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 (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) wolverine (Gulo gulo) named Stinky, a candidate species for federal protection.
  • A white-lipped island pit viper (Trimeresurus insularis) at the Woodland Park 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.
  • Photo: An endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) at the Madrid Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) named 'Usi' from the Omaha Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered St. Vincent parrot (Amazona guildingii) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered.
  • Photo: A Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) photographed on the grounds of the Symington Estates in Portugal.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) at Ocean Park.
  • Picture of a male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • An Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Portraits of Hyloscirtus pantostictus at a captive breeding at Pontificia Universidad Catòlica in Quito, Ecuador. This is an endangered frog. This is the only one in captivity and it could be extinct in the wild. (IUCN: EN)

Joel Sartore News

Texas Ocelot License Plate

One of our favorite ocelot images is featured on a new Texas conservation themed license plate. Proceeds benefit Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The LANWR is the largest protected area of natural habitat left in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Find out more information: https://www.texasocelots.com/  

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