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 an American great egret (Ardea alba egretta) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • Picture of a curl-crested aracari (Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) at the Dallas World Aquarium.
  • Photo: An endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) at the Madrid Zoo.
  • Photo: A portrait of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata).
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Two Pallas's cats (Otocolobus manul) at the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A picture of a critically endangered and federally endangered, female South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, at the Suzhou Zoo in China.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama.
  • Picture of an albino porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) named Halsey at the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Louisville, NE.
  • 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 a critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at the Kukrail Gharial and Turtle Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, India.
  • Picture of Nabire, a Northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at Houston Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX.
  • Picture of a brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus) at the PanAmerican Conservation Association in Gamboa, Panama. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Photo: A male Lesser Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) named Osiris at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Photo: A naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Picture of Spotted jellyfish (Mastigias papua) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Joel Sartore News

On the brink: The Endangered Species Act

On July 21, 2019 CBS news published this story about the Endangered Species Act. “The good news is that 99% of them have not been declared extinct. The not-so-good news is that only 2% have recovered, like the bald eagle and the American alligator.”  

Get the Story