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.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • Photo: A killer whale also called an orca whale, Orcinus orca, named Kayla at SeaWorld in Orlando, FL. Kayla is 27 years old, weighs 5,600 pounds and is 19 feet long.
  • Picture of a federally endangered Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) at the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden in Guwahati, Assam, India.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • Photo: A rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) at the Exmoor Zoo in England.
  • Picture of a federally threatened, Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) named Yukon at the Point Defiance Zoo.
  • Picture of a critically endangered blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) named "Presley" at the Duke Lemur Center.
  • 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

  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • A Coopers hawk (Accipiter cooperii) at Raptor Recovery Nebraska.
  • A red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) at the Sutton Avian Research Center.
  • Picture of a veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus), Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • A spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata).
  • Gladys, a six-week-old western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) at the Cincinnati Zoo. Listed as critically endangered and federally endangered.
  • A male Himalayan monal pheasant (Lophophorus impejanus) at Pheasant Heaven, a private pheasant breeding center near Clinton, NC.
  • 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)
  • Photo: A vulnerable greater Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus orientalis) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.