The Australian Reptile Park will celebrate Elvis the crocodiles birthday by opening its doors early on Friday 6th January 2017 at 8am! Being the star he is, the Today Show will be doing a live cross at 8:50am where Elvis will be fed ¼ of a cow as a birthday treat that The Australian Reptile Park is inviting visitors to watch!
Make sure you come up early and check out all the action!
Over $130K raised within 3 days – on road to target of $375K
Not for profit organisation Devil Ark (founded by The Australian Reptile Park in 2011), a breeding facility to help save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction is on the road to double in size with help from a crowdfunding campaign launched on Monday 5 December, which has already seen them raise over $130K in donations in just three days.
Reaching out to worldwide supporters, Devil Ark received its largest donation from American based conservation organisation Global Wildlife, who pledged a contribution of just over $100,000 towards the campaign. Australian Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species (FAME) also contributed $10,000 while the remaining pledges to date have been donated by supporting public.
The campaign running with crowdfunding site Pozible has a target of $375,000 which covers stage one of development in 2017 required to double the ark.
Commenting on the successful campaign, Devil Ark, Director, Liz Vella said, As a registered charity, Devil Ark largely relies on external support from project partners and the general public to maintain the facility. We’re eternally thankful for all those who donate and are constantly putting a call out to protect the Tasmanian Devil, so we don’t end up with another sad Australian mammal extinction like we did with the Tasmanian Tiger.
“We’re thrilled with the start of our crowdfunding campaign. Reaching just over 30 percent of our fundraising target in three days is amazing. A big shout out to our American supporters Global Wildlife, who work with conservation organisations around the world to ensure that some of the least understood, but most endangered species have a shot of survival.
“Global Wildlife’s investment shows the world is watching and taking notice of Australia’s concerning mammal extinction crises. It’s encouraging that we’re off to a strong start with the crowdfunding, but there is still a way to go in achieving our stage one goal of $375,000 and hope the rest of the world will rally behind us.”
Devil Ark’s mission is to save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction by creating an insurance population of genetically diverse, healthy devils to mitigate the possible threat of extinction due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease.
“Devil Ark is doing work that is vital not only to saving the Tasmanian Devil, but to conserving the many species that depend on the presence of a native predator to control feral cats and foxes,” said Don Church, Global Wildlife Conservation president and director of conservation.
“Devils are iconic globally and are both an important flagship and integral part of conserving Australia’s unique and, in many cases, imperiled wildlife. We are committed to supporting Devil Ark’s important mission, and we hope that individuals and other organizations worldwide are inspired to do the same.”
At the 2016 NSW Tourism Awards, set amongst the finest caliber of attractions in tourism the state has to offer, Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast has achieved the most honourable recognition of all – taking out Gold inThe People’s Choice Award, as the number one publically voted tourism attraction in the state.
The wildlife park, renowned to be The Best Family Fun Day Out, also took home bronze in the Major Tourism Attractions category, selected by a judging panel for exceptional contribution to the NSW Tourism Industry. In this category Australian Reptile Park was flattered to be on the podium alongside Sydney Bridge Climb and the Australian National Maritime Museum, who took out first and second consecutively.
To the park itself the biggest accolade was winning the peoples vote. “It’s a proud moment for all of us at Australian Reptile Park,” said Tim Faulkner, General Manager.
“Australian Reptile Park ingrains a memorable experience to our guests from the first time they visit, whether they’re a child or adult, and these memories carry on for a lifetime. We pride ourselves on personalised service with hands-on animal interaction, entertaining and educational shows and the promise of an experience guests will want to return to enjoy again and again.
“It’s most satisfying to all staff that the people recognise our passion and commitment to tourism, and animal welfare by voting for Australian Reptile Park as People’s Choice Gold Winner. We cannot thank all the voters enough, from all of us at the park we pass on a warm and big hearted thank you.”
The NSW Tourism Awards took place at Luna Park, led by the tourism industry, a division of the NSW Business Chamber and supported by Destination NSW. The awards are a submission and inspection-based program that encourage businesses to meet and aim to exceed industry standards. The People’s Choice Award recognises the winner of The People’s Choice on-line poll. The finalist with the highest number of votes by the public takes out the honour, for which Australian Reptile Park dominated at this year’s awards.
Accepting the award at the Luna Park venue on behalf of Australian Reptile Park was Marketing Manager, Lizzie Doyle. “It was a nice surprise for Australian Reptile Park to be recognised by the people,” said Lizzie.
“The Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier (Western Sydney) Mr. Ray Williams MP mentioned to me on stage that he still remembers visiting the Australian Reptile Park when he was a young boy, demonstrating just how memorable the park experience is to all who visit and I reiterate thanks again-and- again to all who voted for the park in the People’s Choice category.”
The Australian Reptile Park is the original ‘hands-on’ zoo, with a colourful history spanning nearly 60 years. Located on the Central Coast of NSW, Australian Reptile Park features a unique visitor experience that includes not only reptiles, but also a wide range of native fauna and flora. Visitors can spend a relaxing day viewing animal exhibits in natural Australian bush settings, enjoying a family BBQ in the company of kangaroos, emus, geese and the odd giant tortoise, plus a range of hands-on entertaining shows and multi-faceted themed exhibits. For more details see www.reptilepark.com.au
The Australian Reptile park is committed to and in the final planning stages of an aquatics centre for some of its older and longer term residents, as well as featuring some exciting new interactive conservation, education and advocacy displays.
The facility will commence construction in early 2017. It will be interactive and naturalistically themed with educational displays featuring the Endangered Corroboree Frog, Green and Golden Bell Frog, Anaconda, Australian native Turtles, Snapping Turtle, Bull Frog and and many more.
The Australian Reptile Park is particularly excited about this new development as amphibians and waterways are some of the most threatened species and environments in the world.
Keep an eye on this space for more information about this exciting new feature at The Australian Reptile Park.
Australia is renowned to have some of the most Deadly & Dangerous animals in the world. To fulfill the ever curious mindset of visitors, Australia Reptile Park will feature Deadly & Dangerous Live on Stage at the park in the April school holidays (9 to 25 April), educating guests on Australia’s most venomous creatures.
Learn about the Inland Taipan, the most venomous snake in the world, and its deadly relatives the Eastern Brown Snake, Tiger Snake and Death Adder. See on display laboratory props, which are usually only visible behind the scenes when used for milking deadly snakes as part of the Reptile Park’s venom program.
Head keepers will present a ranking of each animal’s deadly rating, which is not only limited to snakes. Lizards will also play a part, with the largest venomous animal on earth, the Komodo Dragon featured in the show series, along with the highly venomous Gila Monster Lizard.
Selected spiders will also be a part of the Deadly & Dangerous Live on Stage show series, as keepers demonstrate how to react if bitten by the highly venomous Funnel-Web or Redback spider, commonly found in Australia.
Kids curious about Australia’s most Deadly & Dangerous animals can join one of the many the Kids to Keeper programs including a Deadly & Dangerous series especially timed for the school holidays.
Kids programs provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access and greater insight into being a zoo keeper at Australian Reptile Park. Set dates and age groups apply, with full details on-line atwww.reptilepark.com.au. Additionally, families can book a private Animal Encounter with the option of deadly & dangerous or cute and cuddly.
Complementing Australian Reptile Park’s Deadly & Dangerous Live on Stage show series, regular park hero experiences will continue throughout the April School Holidays including daily feeding of Elvis, Australia’s crankiest crocodile, a Reptile show, Tasmanian Devil show, the walking of Hugo a giant Galapagos Tortoise, Dingo and Koala Talks, plus roving keepers introducing a variety of animals to guests out in the park amongst free roaming kangaroos and emus.
Australian Reptile Park is open daily from 9am ‘til 5pm, located at Somersby on the Central Coast of New South Wales, 1 hour from Sydney on-route to Port Stephens with complimentary parking and BBQ facilities. School holiday programs and ticketing prices can be found on-line at www.reptilepark.com.au
See the Easter Bilby at Australian Reptile Park from Friday 25 March to Monday 28 March over the Easter long weekend both in the nocturnal house and in the Easter Bilby show.
A very rare sighting will be taking place over the Easter break at Australian Reptile Park, with twin baby bilbies Adoni and Alkina to be surfaced from their burrows for guests to admire in the park’s limited time only Easter Bilby Show. Taking place from Friday 25th March to Monday 28th March the show is in recognition of the iconic Aussie Easter Bilby, one of Australia’s most endangered marsupials.
As part of Australian Reptile Park’s successful breeding program in partnership with Save the Bilby Fund, the twin bilbies were born at Australian Reptile Park and are now at an age (6months) where they can be weaned from their parents to be on show at Australian Reptile Park.
The bilby is a threatened species with less than 1000 remaining in the wild and numbers are decreasing, says Tim Faulkner, General Manager at Australian Reptile Park, and Head of Conservation.
“We’re proud to surface our baby bilbies and their parents to be on show at a time when Australians pay attention to them over Easter, it’s a very rare sighting considering todays populations are isolated to arid areas in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland, where they are considered endangered.
“There are many recovery projects in progress to save the bilby and Australian Reptile Park may only have a small breeding program, but it’s a successful one, where they are free from feral foxes and cats which are the main cause for reducing the species to such low numbers.”
In recent years the bilby has been put forward as a new Easter symbol for Australia. It is a small marsupial with a long nose and tail, however it shares one feature with the Easter Bunny, and that is its ears! Bilbies are solitary and nocturnal, only appearing from their underground burrows after dark. Burrows may be up to 3m in length and 1.8m deep.
The bilby is part of the Bandicoot family. It has one of the shortest gestation periods of any Australian marsupial, with younglings developing in as little as 14 days. Within six months they are weaned from their parents and supporting the environment as eco system engineers, critical to the ecology of Australia’s arid inland.
The Easter Bilby chocolate is becoming more common on our supermarket shelves alongside the traditional rabbit, Save The Bilby Fund have noted Pink Lady Chocolates is one of the leading chocolate manufacturers that provide a portion of funds from each chocolate sold to help save the bilby.
See the Easter Bilby at Australian Reptile Park from Friday 25 March to Monday 28 March over the Easter long weekend both in the nocturnal house and in the Easter Bilby show. For more details on visiting Australian Reptile Park see www.reptilepark.com.au
The Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast of NSW has caught on camera the hatching of a baby American Alligator squeezing and squeaking its way out of an egg that has been in incubation for 73 days, following the park’s successful breeding season.
Filmed by Australian Reptile Park General Manager, Tim Faulkner and Australian Geographic Conservationist of the year – 25 American Alligators hatched over the weekend and are now being cared for in a heated nursery behind the scenes at Australian Reptile Park.
See them out on display in the Lost World of Reptiles baby reptile nursery in the April school holidays at the park.
A red-bellied black snake has been rescued by the staff at The Australian Reptile Park after a local resident brought the snake that had become entangled in netting into the zoo located on the NSW Central Coast. The snake would have likely died had Park staff not cut it free and the good people who brought the snake into the Park with extreme caution and care.
Commenting on the situation, The Australian Reptile Park’s General Manager Tim Faulkner said “Usually we wouldn’t suggest people to catch snakes like this, it would have been better had they of called someone like a local snake removalist, to eliminate the risk. However, a bit of careful cutting and removing netting by Reptile Park staff allowed the snake to be released into the bush later in the day with only a few very small lacerations that did not require medical treatment.”
Due to the wet summer Australia is experiencing with the plants growing, the insects follow and the whole life-cycle of the ecosystems ticks over – this means snakes are out and about. Tim went on to say “it does not mean that there are more of them, it just means that they are more active.”
“Last week, there was a well-known tragedy that took place in northern NSW that reiterates why we need to be aware of snakes, know about snakes and take safety precautions. Snakes are scared of us and usually their first instinct is flight so if you see a snake, leave it alone and head in the opposite direction.”
“Deterring snakes by not having stick piles in your back yard and un-mowed grass are also key in preventing snake bite, but most importantly, know your first aid. For all Australian snakes, the technique to use is called the “pressure immobilisation bandage” which involves using a bandage to wrap the bite site 2-3 times, then continuing to bandage up the limb towards the body. If you have a snake that is trapped like this, call a snake rescue organisation or a local snake catcher to come and remove the snake.”
The Australian Reptile Park teaches individuals during their daily wildlife shows about snake safety but for organisations looking for a special course for their employees, they offer a Snake Safety Awareness Seminar (for more information, head to www.reptilepark.com.au).
Often, it is said that snakes are becoming more common in urban areas, but it is actually the case that urban areas are becoming more common in snake habitat. The further humans sprawl out, the more we will come into contact with snakes. Native snakes like red-bellied black snakes, Eastern brown snakes and tiger snakes, feed on frogs and rodents which live on the outskirts of urban areas so it is likely numbers will not be reducing anytime soon.
Australian Reptile Park has received its biggest male funnel-web spider ever handed into the park to participate in the much needed venom program, saving up to 300 lives per year.
The male funnel-web already named “Big Boy” measures up to 7.5cm in spread with venom dripping constantly from his fangs. Found in Newcastle and handed into John Hunter Hospital for collection, Big Boy will be milked for the sole purpose of protecting humans from funnel-web bites.
Australian Reptile Park is always accepting spider drop-offs but only the male spider can be milked and February and March is the time when the males like Big Boy are out and active.
Commenting on the hand-in, Liz Vella, Head Curator at the Australian Reptile Park said, “January and February are the peak times when male funnel-web spiders are out trying to find females to mate and given that only males can be milked we really encourage local communities to hand them into the Australian Reptile Park or to participating hospital drop off centres within this peak season.
“Funnel-web spiders only live for 12 months so we’re constantly needing to re-stock our males. They’re often found in sheltered, shady spots, which are always cool, humid and often damp.
“They are a feisty species of spider and can be expected to stand their ground and defend themselves. For that reason we encourage adults to educate children that should they locate a spider of any kind that parental assistance be provided in the capture.
“We have drop off zones in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle and all facilities are provided with a spider safety kit to house the spiders until Australian Reptile Park staff can come and pick them up each week.”
The Australian Reptile Park website features a safety and capture video on-line taking viewers through a step by step process in collection and delivery of a funnel web spider. See Spider First Aid and Drop off Zones on-line at here
Known as Australia’s crankiest crocodile and famous for attacking a keeper’s lawnmower in 2011, Elvis the resident saltwater crocodile at The Australian Reptile Park turned 50 on 8th January 2015!
To celebrate, the 500 kilo crocodilian was given his annual gift comprising of half an animal carcass, likely to be a cow, in which dragged into the water and death roll.
The superior hunter and predator possesses larger than average size teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey, which General Manager, Tim Faulkner, said “the bone crunching sound makes my bones shudder”.
Commenting on the extremely dangerous feeding procedure, Billy Collett, Head of Reptiles at Australian Reptile Park said, “Elvis is one cranky crocodile, a wound inflicted by this guy would be extremely severe and this typical opportunistic predator is infamous for attacks on humans.
“Elvis came to us from the Northern Territory where he was causing havoc to fisherman’s boats. He has even gone for me a few times when feeding, so the process of giving him such a large carcass needs to be cautiously thought out.
“Today I had General Manager Tim Faulkner, Operations Manager Mike Drinkwater and Ranger Mick in the enclosure as back up support. We lured him out of the water with the carcass, and held onto a rope attached to the cow to demonstrate his pulling ability during the death roll.
“Once Elvis grabbed the carcass there was no letting go until he got a mouthful of food. If he ate the whole carcass at once it would have him in a hibernation state from food for at least eight weeks, which is not good for his feeding routine.”
Elvis the crocodile is a fine ambassador for his species. Saltwater crocodiles were once hunted to the brink of extinction in Australia, but following their status to be legally protected in QLD, NT and WA, their numbers have made a full recovery and they are now listed as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is regarded as one of the country's premier attractions and is the only zoo in Australia committed to saving lives with a spider and snake Venom-Milking Program in place.
Devil Ark is a not for profit organisation and registered charity, dedicated to ensuring the survival of the endangered Tasmanian devil at risk of extinction due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
As if running the Reptile Park wasn't enough, Tim also has his own TV show, active social channels and a self-imposed mandate to provide further knowledge of Australian Wildlife right around the world. You can keep up with everything Tim is doing at timfaulkner.com.au.