Our Team

John Weigel

Founder and Managing Director Devil Ark and Aussie Ark

Director of Australian Reptile Ark


OAM Lifetime of conservation


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.

Tim Faulkner

Director Australian Reptile Ark and General Manager Devil Ark and Aussie Ark


Conservationist of the Year 2015 – Australian Geographic

Central Coast Business Excellence – Young Executive of the Year 2016


Wrestling a saltwater crocodile, wrangling a deadly Taipan 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 Tasmania Devil from extinction, topped off with coordinating his responsibilities as General Manager and Head of Conservation at the Australia Reptile Park in Somersby NSW and The Devil Ark at Barrington Tops NSW.


Tim is a recognised leader in the Australian zoo industry and in conservation organisations. His working life has been dedicated to hands-on wild life education and conservation. Responsible for the day-to-day running of the Central Coast’s largest tourism attraction the Australian Reptile Park.

Liz Gabriel

Curator, Australian Reptile Park and Devil Ark

Director, Australian Reptile Park


Liz is highly motivated and focussed on the continuous improvement of the facilities she manages, the wider animal industry, and innovative conservation projects within Australia. With 15 years’ 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 Australian AQIS 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.

Chris Chapman

President of FAME

Dip Law, Dip CD, FAICD, Dip CS, FCIS, MBA (UNE).


Christopher is 67 years old and has three adult children (2 daughters and a son), 3 infant grandchildren and resides in Manly NSW. As a qualified barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court of Australia was admitted to practice in 1978 after completing a Diploma of Law offered by the Solicitors Admission Board of the Supreme Court of NSW. After 12 years in private practice specialising in litigation, moved into corporate legal practice as in-house legal counsel and company secretary for listed and unlisted public companies; holding an unrestricted practicing certificate for over 38 years.


The diplomas offered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chartered Secretaries Australia (now known as the Governance Institute) were awarded as well as obtaining a MBA from the University of New England. Working in a second job in the evenings, lectures were provided in legal and HR studies at North Sydney TAFE for 10 years to students studying for a diploma of business.


Pro bono & volunteer services have been provided on the management committees or boards of various registered charities and not-for-profits entities including;


  • Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species Limited
  • Devil Ark Inc.
  • Manly Women’s Shelter Inc.
  • North Head Sanctuary Inc,
  • Secret Creek Sanctuary Inc.
  • The Owners Corporation SP 7114, and
  • Strata Community Australia (NSW) Limited.

Paul Andrew

Curator, Taronga Conservation Society Australia

BSc(Hons) Ecology, University East Anglia;

MA, Applied Ethics, University of Melbourne.

 BirdLife International ‘RedList Recognition’


Besides curating the amphibian, reptile and bird collection at Taronga Zoo , Paul manages two regional programs, Komodo Dragon and Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, the latter including a release component, and one international program, for the Koala, on behalf of the Zoo and Aquarium Association [ZAA].


In 2010, Paul established a program for Blue-tailed Skink based upon Maximum Avoidance of Inbreeding and a program for Lister’s Gecko based upon Mean Kinship for Parks Australia and continue to oversight the demographic and genetic integrity of the populations at Taronga and on Christmas Island.


Paul has chaired the Australasian Species Management Program Committee and currently acts as the ZAA’s Reptile TAG Convener and Taxonomic Advisor. He has formal CBSG facilitation training and maintains positions on the Devil Ark Advisory Group and the ZAA Koala Working Group and prepares numerous documents and reports relevant to the strategic management of meta-populations in the Australasian region.