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.

  • 9585 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 Terri, a hand-raised, female Javan rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros silvestris) at the Cincinnati Zoo.
  • A three-month-old baby chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) named Ruben at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered.
  • A red fan parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus accipitrinus) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).
  • Picture of a four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • An ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of a veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Picture of a vulnerable four-toed jerboa (Allactaga tetradactyla) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Picture of a bull elk with his antlers in velvet (Cervus canadensis) at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
  • Picture of a naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Geoffroy's tufted-ear marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • 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

  • Picture of a male Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Picture of Rajah, an endangered, male white Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) at Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
  • Picture of a Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) at the Saint Louis 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..
  • A critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure near Salina, KS.
  • Photo: Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus pardinoides) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • A king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) at Reptile Gardens.
  • Photo: A female Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini panini) at Negros Forest Park.