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.

  • 11,926 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 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 an endangered sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) at Conservation Fisheries. Shown is an adult with juveniles.
  • Picture of a federally endangered, female Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • Kalibasib an 18-year-old male tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo (Bubalus mindorensis) at Tamaraw Gene Pool Farm on Mindoro Island in the Philippines. This species is critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Like all gibbons, the gray gibbon has unusually long arms which are used to move through trees and to forage. This endangered species is being 'phased out' at zoos because there are too few in captivity to keep bloodlines vital and the species isn't showy.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Picture of an Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • A compton tortoiseshell butterfly (Nymphalis vaualbum) from Cross Lake, Minnesota.
  • Picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Critically endangered (IUCN) Sulawesi macaques (Macaca nigra) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center. Critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered
  • Photo: Balabac (Philippine) mousedeer (Tragulus nigricans) at the Avilon Zoo. This species is endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Budgett's frog (Lepidobatrachus laevis) at the Baltimore Aquarium.
  • D.J. is an 11-month-old Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Dirgahayu “Ayu” is an 11-month-old Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Unfortunately, both species are critically endangered, in large part due to the palm oil crisis. Both of these juvenile primates are cared for by the Taman Safari in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.
  • Photo: A vulnerable Siamese fighting fish or betta (Betta splendens) in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Picture of an endangered golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Photo: Harapan, a four-year-old male Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • A pair of four-week-old old Asian leopard cats, (Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis). These two were found abandoned by their mother in a burning field and brought to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a wildlife rehab center in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • An Andean porcupine (Coendou quichua) named Piper at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A female, vulnerable African elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.

Joel Sartore News

General Hospital features the Photo Ark

Well, this is something I never thought I’d do; be on a soap opera! But the entire cast and crew of @generalhospitalabc could not have been nicer, even when I flubbed my lines. I was on the set to tape an episode that features Photo Ark images that were on display in their Jerome Gallery. Such…

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