MUMBAI: Wrestling a saltwater crocodile, wrangling a deadly inland Taipan or milking a Funnel-web spider to make anti-venom; it’s all in a morning’s work for reptile park operations manager and wildlife expert Tim Faulkner. Then there’s the giant Galapagos tortoise to weigh, the baby wombat to feed, the flying fox to rescue and a new species of native bird to discover. That still leaves time in this passionate conservationist’s day to release a blue- tongued lizard, tag a wild platypus and save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction. Welcome to the wildlife of Tim Faulkner.
Premiering June 1st, Animal Planet brings a new television series following the daily adventures of Australian wildlife expert, Tim Faulkner in Australian Reptile Park and beyond. Airing every night at 9 pm in June, each episode of THE WILDLIFE OF TIM FAULKNER captures his amazing energy, not only at the Reptile Park, but high in the hills of Devil Ark in NSW Barrington Tops, trapping rogue crocodiles in the Northern Territory and tagging wild platypus in their natural habitat.
Tim Faulkner describes his real passion as “Australian wildlife, their management within zoos, the education of people who visit the zoos and their conservation within their natural habitat”.
Now 32 years, Tim has been working in the zoo and conservation industry his whole life. Since volunteering at a Sydney Wildlife Park from the age of 14, Tim has worked with some of Australia’s rarest most endangered species and their species management programs within captivity. Tim is currently General Manager of the award winning Australian Reptile Park, and has received accolades for his conservation work on Tasmanian devil breeding facility Devil Ark.
Tim is playing an important role in the Tasmanian devil mainland breeding program, the Devil Ark. The iconic Tasmanian devil is nearing extinction from the devil facial tumour disease. In Animal Planet’s series, viewers follow Tim as he discusses the devastating effect facial tumors are having on the animal and what the Reptile Park is doing to help. Tim is extremely proud that the Park has bred more devils than any other establishment.
The series also introduces viewers to extracting venom from snakes and spiders. Tim’s work with the Australian Reptile Park’s venom program also sees him handle the world’s deadliest snakes and spiders to produce venom which is then made into anti-venom at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory.
THE WILDLIFE OF TIM FAULKNER will also see him moving a 4 metre alligator from one pond to another; entering an Alligator lagoon to retrieve eggs from some not so happy gator moms; repairing a leakage in a not-so-friendly crocodile’s pool; visiting a bat rehab centre; rescuing a funnel web spider and a rogue Death Adder; milking a rare King Brown snake and other awe-inspiring works at the park.
Highlights of the series:
· Australia Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia committed to saving lives with a Venom-Milking Program in place for the past 50+ years, saving over 300 lives each year being the sole supplier of a variety of venoms, which is used for all snake and funnel-web anti-venom in Australia.
To keep up the supply of venoms, highly trained staff of the Australian Reptile Park regularly 'milk' more than 300 snakes and 500 spiders that are included in the program.
· Devil Ark is a Tasmanian devil breeding facility in the NSW Barrington Tops that is currently home to around 170 Tasmanian devils. Founder John Weigel, also owner of the Australian Reptile Park, built Devil Ark in 2010 to house large numbers of Tassie devils living in natural conditions.
The species is under threat of extinction from Devil Facial Tumour Disease, an insidious contagious cancer that is transmitted by biting. Unfortunately for the devil, they bite frequently when feeding, socialising and mating, so the disease has spread quickly, reducing numbers by a massive 90% in some parts of Tasmania.