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.

  • 9844 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

  • A superb bird of paradise (Lophorina superba) displays iridescent chest feathers at the Houston Zoo.
  • South Georgia king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus patagonicus) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
  • Picture of American flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.
  • Photo: A kaiser spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri) from Conservation Fisheries.
  • An endangered Malayan tiger, Panthera tigris jacksoni, at the Omaha Zoo. (Not available for licensing.)
  • Picture of an American great egret (Ardea alba egretta) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia) at the Denver Zoo.
  • Photo: A male Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) at the Alaska Zoo.
  • An endangered Indian rhinoceros female with calf (Rhinoceros unicornis) at the Fort Worth Zoo.
  • Photo: An endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) at the Taiping Zoo.
  • A Coopers hawk (Accipiter cooperii) at Raptor Recovery Nebraska.
  • Photo: A Western hercules beetle (Dynastes hercules hercules) at the Houston Zoo.
  • Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at the Miller Park Zoo.
  • Picture of a naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A vulnerable (IUCN) and federally endangered Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • Picture of an endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered, male Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) at the Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmedabad, India.
  • 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.
  • An endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) at the Omaha Zoo.
  • A spectral tarsier (Tarsius fuscus) at Night Safari, part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
  • 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 Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • A studio portrait of a gerenuk (Lictocranius walleri) at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
  • Photo: A vulnerable Siamese fighting fish or betta (Betta splendens) in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • A critically endangered (IUCN) and federally endangered Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) at the Gladys Porter Zoo.

Joel Sartore News

Joel Sartore on saving endangered species – and ourselves

On January 5, 2020 CBS news published this story about extinction. ” We must have intact rainforests to produce dependable amounts of rain to grow our crops. We need healthy seas to generate much of the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe. And we need pollinating insects as well to bring us fruits…

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