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.
  • An endangered Coquerel's sifaka (Propithecus coquereli) at the Houston Zoo.
  • A male okapi (Okapia johnstoni) at White Oak Conservation Center.
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • Colombian green jay or Inca jay (Cyanocorax yncas) at Parque Jaime Duque near Bogota, Colombia.
  • Picture of a house centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata.)
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • Vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Photo: A red celestial eye, a fancy breed of goldfish at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana) at Ocean Park.
  • Photo: A female giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) at the Alaska SeaLife Center.
  • Photo: A Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Picture of a critically endangered female northern white cheeked gibbon (Nomascus leucogenys) at the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.
  • Oblong-winged katydids (Amblycorypha oblongifolia) at the Insectarium in New Orleans. These color variants are found in nature, though anything but green is usually eaten by predators immediately. The Insectarium has been a leader in breeding these color variants for display in the zoo community.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • 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 critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) at the Phoenix Zoo.
  • Picture of a row of critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) at Zoo Atlanta.
  • Picture of twin three month old endangered red pandas (Ailurus fulgens fulgens) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Uno, a federally endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi) at the Naples Zoo. A gunshot wound caused Uno to go blind in 2014.
  • Picture of a vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo. These frogs sit completely still all day long and blend in with the surrounding leaves. They have the ability to change the green tint of their skin to make it harder for predators to see them.
  • Picture of a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
  • A six-day-old Malayan tapir, Tapirus indicus, at the Minnesota Zoo. This species is listed as endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered.
  • A king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) at Reptile Gardens.
  • Picture of an endangered Persian leopard, Panthera pardus saxicolor, at the Budapest Zoo.
  • Picture of a Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) at the Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
  • Picture of a vulnerable Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria) at the Columbus Zoo.
  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

Annenberg Space for Photography to feature Photo Ark exhibition

On August 13, 2018 Los Angeles Magazine published this story about the upcoming Photo Ark exhibition at the Annenberg space for photography. “Opening on October 13, an exhibit based on Sartore’s project, known as the National Geographic Photo Ark, will open at the gallery, featuring 100 large-format photos of animals. They range from rare and endangered creatures…

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