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.
  • 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.
  • A vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • An endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata marmorata).
  • 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 spectral tarsier (Tarsius fuscus) at Night Safari, part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A studio portrait of a gerenuk (Lictocranius walleri) at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
  • Picture of a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
  • 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)
  • A sunbittern (Eurypyga helias ) at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • A vulnerable male African lion (Panthera leo krugeri) named Mr. Big at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
  • Picture of crested wood partridges (Rollulus rouloul) at Sylvan Heights Bird Park.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Photo: Hibernating Arctic ground squirrels (Spermopilus parryii) at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
  • Photo: Edward's fig parrot (Psittaculirostris edwardsii) at Loro Parque Fundacion.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • A captive, five-month-old mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. IUCN: Vulnerable
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.

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…

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