Australian Geographic Society name Tim Faulkner Conservationist Of The Year 2015

Wrestling a saltwater crocodile, wrangling a deadly taipan snake and milking a funnel-web spider is all in a days work for Tim Faulkner and that still leaves time in this passionate conservationists day to release a blue-tongued lizard, tag a wild platypus and save the Tasmanian devil from extinction, topped off with coordinating his responsibilities as General Manager and Head of Conservation at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast of NSW and not for profit organisation Devil Ark at Barrington Tops NSW.

The awards ceremony recognised inspirational role models who have a lifelong commitment to their chosen field and who give back to the nation whist inspiring countless other Australians in the fields of adventure and conservation.

Tim is a recognised leader in the Australasian zoo industry and amongst conservation organisations. His working life has been dedicated to hands-on wildlife education and conservation since 1996, where at the young age of 14 he began working at Featherdale Wildlife Park in the Sydney suburb of Doonside, developing husbandry and captive animal management skills, whilst discovering his passion for native wildlife conservation.  After rising through the ranks from Junior to Supervisor, Tim moved on to the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast in 2004, in the role of Operations Manager to eventually progress as General Manager and Head of Conservation.

Responsible for the day-to-day running for one of the Central Coast’s largest tourist attractions, managing 35 staff and 50 volunteers, Tim is credited with the growing success of the Australian Reptile Park as a leading wildlife tourism attraction in NSW for both regional and global markets, attracting 220,000 visitors each year.

Tim also played a vital role in the development of the not-for-profit initiative, Devil Ark, a large-scale conservation breeding facility for Tasmanian devils in the Barrington Tops of NSW. This program lends itself to the establishment of a viable insurance population on the mainland, away from the scourge of Devil Facial Tumour Disease.  Tim’s role with lobbying for fund raising amongst government entities saw over 800,000 in donations raised to protect the Tasmanian devil from extinction.

In 2015, Tim became patron for The Great Koala National Park. The 315,000 ha park in the NSW Coffs Harbour region is a grand plan to secure the future of koalas.

This year Tim was also invited to become the ambassador for the Quokka, by the Rottnest Island Authority to promote Quokka welfare and education. Tim is also ambassador for the Australian Dingo Coalition, and has been named an association affiliated with the Jane Goodall institute for the promotion of dingos in Australia.

For most ambitious professionals, this would represent a sufficient accomplishment. Not so for Tim Faulkner. His contagious energy and relentless determination has seen him appear frequently on Network Ten’s Bondi Vet, plus his own highly successful television series The Wildlife of Tim Faulkner.

Commenting on his award, Tim Faulkner said, “I’m very humbled to be recognised by a society I hold in such high regard.  To this day, I have a collection of every issue of Australian Geographic proudly displayed in my house.

“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life to have a wonderful family, friends and mentors who have all shared their passions and skills allowing me to develop my love and enthusiasm for Australia and its wildlife.  In particular my loving wife Liz, my parents and John and Robyn Weigel, who are Owner-Directors of the Australian Reptile Park and conservation project Devil Ark.

“The Australian Reptile Park is not just any ordinary Zoo. It was one of the first private zoos in Australia, steeped in a long history of native wildlife, education, conservation and anti-venom production, in which the zoo is still to this day the sole supplier of snake and spider venom for the production of anti-venoms, that save up to 300 Australian lives each year.

“Zoos continue to play a major role in conservation, and an area of conservation close to my heart is saving the Tasmanian Devil from extinction.  Through our breeding program at Australian Reptile Park and Devil Ark it is apparent that there is a greater opportunity for Australian conservation and the devil itself to be released onto the mainland of Australia, where they once were 1000 years ago.

“Unfortunately to date trial release proposals have been denied due to parochialism of Tasmanian politics on ownership vs science and saving the species but we have not given up.  When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone it was met with fierce reservation and is now hailed as one of the worlds greatest reintroductions. We will get there.

“Animal welfare, and conservation have shaped my life so to Dick Smith and the editorial staff of the Australian Geographic magazine and society, I’m ever thankful for this award and recognition, allowing my voice for the animals to be heard.”

The Australian Geographic Society awards bring together past winners, adventurers, scientists, conservationists and AG enthusiasts to celebrate the passion, drive, and courage of all the winners.

Wrestling a saltwater crocodile, wrangling a deadly taipan snake and milking a funnel-web spider is all in a days work for Tim Faulkner and that still leaves time in this passionate conservationists day to release a blue-tongued lizard, tag a wild platypus and save the Tasmanian devil from extinction, topped off with coordinating his responsibilities as General Manager and Head of Conservation at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast of NSW and not for profit organisation Devil Ark at Barrington Tops NSW.

The awards ceremony recognised inspirational role models who have a lifelong commitment to their chosen field and who give back to the nation whist inspiring countless other Australians in the fields of adventure and conservation.

Tim is a recognised leader in the Australasian zoo industry and amongst conservation organisations. His working life has been dedicated to hands-on wildlife education and conservation since 1996, where at the young age of 14 he began working at Featherdale Wildlife Park in the Sydney suburb of Doonside, developing husbandry and captive animal management skills, whilst discovering his passion for native wildlife conservation.  After rising through the ranks from Junior to Supervisor, Tim moved on to the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast in 2004, in the role of Operations Manager to eventually progress as General Manager and Head of Conservation.

Responsible for the day-to-day running for one of the Central Coast’s largest tourist attractions, managing 35 staff and 50 volunteers, Tim is credited with the growing success of the Australian Reptile Park as a leading wildlife tourism attraction in NSW for both regional and global markets, attracting 220,000 visitors each year.

Tim also played a vital role in the development of the not-for-profit initiative, Devil Ark, a large-scale conservation breeding facility for Tasmanian devils in the Barrington Tops of NSW. This program lends itself to the establishment of a viable insurance population on the mainland, away from the scourge of Devil Facial Tumour Disease.  Tim’s role with lobbying for fund raising amongst government entities saw over 800,000 in donations raised to protect the Tasmanian devil from extinction.

In 2015, Tim became patron for The Great Koala National Park. The 315,000 ha park in the NSW Coffs Harbour region is a grand plan to secure the future of koalas.

This year Tim was also invited to become the ambassador for the Quokka, by the Rottnest Island Authority to promote Quokka welfare and education. Tim is also ambassador for the Australian Dingo Coalition, and has been named an association affiliated with the Jane Goodall institute for the promotion of dingos in Australia.

For most ambitious professionals, this would represent a sufficient accomplishment. Not so for Tim Faulkner. His contagious energy and relentless determination has seen him appear frequently on Network Ten’s Bondi Vet, plus his own highly successful television series The Wildlife of Tim Faulkner.

Commenting on his award, Tim Faulkner said, “I’m very humbled to be recognised by a society I hold in such high regard.  To this day, I have a collection of every issue of Australian Geographic proudly displayed in my house.

“I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life to have a wonderful family, friends and mentors who have all shared their passions and skills allowing me to develop my love and enthusiasm for Australia and its wildlife.  In particular my loving wife Liz, my parents and John and Robyn Weigel, who are Owner-Directors of the Australian Reptile Park and conservation project Devil Ark.

“The Australian Reptile Park is not just any ordinary Zoo. It was one of the first private zoos in Australia, steeped in a long history of native wildlife, education, conservation and anti-venom production, in which the zoo is still to this day the sole supplier of snake and spider venom for the production of anti-venoms, that save up to 300 Australian lives each year.

“Zoos continue to play a major role in conservation, and an area of conservation close to my heart is saving the Tasmanian Devil from extinction.  Through our breeding program at Australian Reptile Park and Devil Ark it is apparent that there is a greater opportunity for Australian conservation and the devil itself to be released onto the mainland of Australia, where they once were 1000 years ago.

“Unfortunately to date trial release proposals have been denied due to parochialism of Tasmanian politics on ownership vs science and saving the species but we have not given up.  When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone it was met with fierce reservation and is now hailed as one of the worlds greatest reintroductions. We will get there.

“Animal welfare, and conservation have shaped my life so to Dick Smith and the editorial staff of the Australian Geographic magazine and society, I’m ever thankful for this award and recognition, allowing my voice for the animals to be heard.”

The Australian Geographic Society awards bring together past winners, adventurers, scientists, conservationists and AG enthusiasts to celebrate the passion, drive, and courage of all the winners.

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