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MEET THE TEAM

MEET THE TEAM

Meet the team

John Weigel

John Weigel OAM

Founder and Managing Director

John Weigel was a leader in the early approaches of the Australasian zoos association to the Tasmanian Government with the offer of help in averting the extinction of the Tasmanian Devil. By 2006 he had hatched the idea of a large-scale mainland conservation breeding facility for the species. Two years later he successfully ‘sold’ the Devil Ark concept to the diverse stakeholders of a three-day IUCN-initiated workshop in Hobart. Construction of the facility at Barrington Tops commenced 18 months later.

John is also a Director of the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby NSW where he has worked since designing and building the facility with wife Robyn in 1996. In 1999, for the second year running, the Reptile Park took out the highly prestigious National Tourism Award for Australia’s best regional tourist attraction. In 2008 John was awarded the prestigious Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 in recognition of his contributions to Australian tourism and the production of life-saving snake and spider anti-venoms.

Robyn Weigel

Robyn Weigel

Director

Robyn Weigel is a Director of both Aussie Ark and the Australian Reptile Park, where she has played an instrumental role in a range of conservation initiatives over many decades. Her administration savvy has greatly enhanced the development of Aussie Ark, and her personal monetary donations to the project at the onset remain amongst the most substantial contributions to date. She and husband John are dedicated to the development and long-term maintenance of a viable insurance population of the iconic Tasmanian marsupial as well as the other species that live at the Ark.

Robyn’s work in developing and implementing methods for extracting venom from Funnel-web spiders has contributed to saving many Australian lives and was recognised by a humanitarian award from the Commonwealth Bank. In 2003 she was recognized as the Central Coast region’s Business Woman of the Year.

Tim Faulkner

Tim Faulkner

President

Tim is a recognised leader in the Australian zoological industry and in conservation organisations worldwide. His working life has been dedicated to hands-on wildlife education and conservation. While Tim’s background includes over 20 years in the zoological community, resulting in him becoming a Co-Director of the Central Coast’s largest tourism attraction the Australian Reptile Park.

It is through his passion and knowledge of wildlife and ecology that saw Tim was recognized in 2015 when he was awarded the Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year for his work and contribution in the conservation of the Tasmanian devil at Aussie Ark.  Tim is focused on outcomes and forming long lasting partnerships with reputable organizations with aligning objectives.

Liz Gabriel

Liz Gabriel

Treasurer, Secretary and Curator

Liz is curator of two facilities – the Australian Reptile Park, and Aussie Ark.  Liz is highly motivated and focused on the continuous improvement of the facilities she manages, the wider animal industry, and innovative conservation projects within Australia. Liz is integral to the Aussie Ark team bringing 15 years of experience in areas of native and exotic animal care and husbandry, exhibit design, various state and federal legislative processes, and WHS considerations.

She has exposure in a range of animal welfare positions and is the liaising representative for two AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) facilities. She oversees the world-renowned venom production unit of the Australian Reptile Park, as well as the ongoing captive breeding program for the endangered Tasmanian devil and other species at Aussie Ark.

Paul Andrew

Paul Andrew

Committee of Management Member

Paul is currently the Science and Policy Manager at Aussie Ark. This follows a 20 year career as curator at Taronga Zoo and, most recently, two years in Ha Noi volunteering for local NGOs.

Paul has served on the Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP) Committee, including the role of Chair, been Convener of the Reptile TAG, and has overseen several native species as Co-ordinator in the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australia (ZAA) where he remains Taxonomy Advisor and International Co-ordinator for Koala.

Paul’s interests are meta-population management and the rhetoric of welfare. With regard to meta-populations Paul is a member of Conservation Planning Specialist Group and currently Chair of the Bilby Meta-population Working Group. The interest in the rhetoric of welfare stemmed from a year doing a research Masters at Melbourne University and centres on how to value the life of an animal.

Chris Chapman

Chris Chapman

Committee of Management Member

Dip Law, Dip CIS, Dip CM, FGIA, FAICD, MBA, Barrista and Solicitor NSW, Vic, ACT, High Court of Australia.

Chris has dedicated much of his life to saving Australia’s imperiled wildlife. Chris has been a Board member of the Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered (F.A.M.E), another wildlife conservation charity and not-for-profit organisation since 2005, in which he currently holds the position of President. Chris is a founding member of the organisation’s Committee of Management and member for nearly 8 years. He is recently retired from over 30 years in corporate life in the role of legal counsel and company secretary of listed and unlisted public companies. Solicitor in NSW and High Court of Australia. FAICD. Fellow Governance Institute/Company Secretaries Australia.

Bruce Kubbere

Bruce Kubbere

Committee of Management Member

Bruce Kubbere studied Australian fauna from his early childhood and with his vision and commitment to promoting Australian fauna to the public, opened Featherdale Wildlife Park in 1972. In the early years, Bruce and his wife Margaret, operated a plant nursery in conjunction with the Wildlife Park. This still remains today with beautiful Australian native trees and plants lining the walkways and throughout the enclosures as a legacy of the park’s history.

Bruce’s knowledge and experience in wildlife management is extensive and he has been a long term and passionate supporter of the Ark since its inception in 2011, including holding a position on the Committee of Management since 2012.

Brad Walker

Brad Walker

Committee of Management Member

For over 30 years Brad Walker has dedicated his life to fauna & flora and has extensive herpetology, reptile, amphibian and captive animals background. He is a member of the Australian Society of Zookeeping Society (ASZK) and has worked closely with dasyurids, with a focus on tiger quolls. Brad has had an extensive background in Animal Ethics for the past 20 years and has fulfilled the Category C member (Welfare representative) on three separate Animal Ethics committees.

Brad worked at Featherdale Wildlife Park for 18 years as the Senior Curator managing 2,500 animals and 30 staff. An important part of his role was collection management and working with threatened species. After leaving Featherdale he worked as a part-time teacher for the Animal Science section before accepting the Head Teachers position of Animal Science at Richmond College of TAFE NSW. His portfolio included co-ordinating all compliance as a registered training organization, animal welfare, ethics regulations and compliance matters. Brad is qualified in Captive Animals Certificate III and IV, has a Dip Ed VET, is a qualified landscape and exhibit designer with a Diploma in Landscape Design amongst many other industry skills.

Matt Radnidge

Matt Radnidge

Committee of Management Member

Matt is the Director of Symbio Wildlife Park and has led the business through the transition of the last 10 years. He has designed a number of award-winning exhibits and facilities within Symbio and consistently aims for very high standards across all facets of the business.

Matt has been successful in applying for state and federal government funding a number of times, and was recognised as Young Business Executive of the Year for the Illawarra Business Awards in 2015.

Matt was instrumental in the partnership between Aussie Ark and Symbio Wildlife Park, and brings a wealth of knowledge in captive animal management and business operation to the Committee of Management.

Kelly Davis

Kelly Davis

Devil Ark Supervisor

Kelly has worked in the animal industry for over 10 years.  She began her career volunteering at the Australian Reptile Park in the mammals section, which she continued doing for 8 years, offering herself for as many days a week as she could.  Kelly has always been a hard worker and showed a passion for the Tasmanian devil.  She undertook a Bachelor of Science at Macquarie University, double majoring in brain behaviour and evolution and biology, with first class honours. Kelly then went on to complete a Master of Research on Tasmanian devil behaviour.

Working at Devil Ark has always been Kelly’s dream, so when she was offered the position of Supervisor in 2017 she couldn’t be happier.  In her words “I have the best job in the world!”

Lachlan Gilding

Lachlan Gilding

Aussie Ark Supervisor

Lachlan started his career with wildlife age of fifteen where he managed to secure an internship with a large zoological facility in Southern Queensland. From there on he dedicated his life to wildlife conservation. After gaining 5 years experience in wildlife husbandry, training and conservation Lachlan moved into the Ecology field and gained valuable experience in the feild, this included travelling the country and sometimes across the world to take part in some fantastic and unique conservation projects.

Lachlan brings a field skill set rarely seen in the wildlife sector. and is an asset to the Aussie Ark team.

Max Jackson

Max Jackson

Aussie Ark Supervisor

Max has dedicated both his career and his spare time to Australia’s native wildlife. Over the past 10 years Max has accumulated a professional background in animal husbandry, wildlife consultancy and wildlife tour-guiding. He is also a passionate wildlife photographer who spends almost all of his spare time travelling across the country in order to find and photograph the unique species Australia has to offer.

Max joined the team with an extensive knowledge in Australian wildlife species, behavior and biology which benefits the wildlife in our care.