Founder and Managing Director, Devil Ark and Director of Australian Reptile Park
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.
Director, Devil Ark and Director of Australian Reptile Park
Robyn Weigel is a Director of both Devil 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 Devil 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.
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.
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 is curator of two facilities – the Australian Reptile Park, and Devil Ark. 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.
Devil Ark Manager
Dean has been in the customer service industry for 20 years. Unhappy in his job, he decided to quit and move from Sydney to the central coast and started volunteering at The Australian Reptile Park. Dean’s passion is Australian native animals, and he decided to volunteer at ARP to try and work with Koalas but fell in love with Tasmanian devils. After 8 months at the Australian Reptile Park, Dean started to get casual shifts doing odd jobs in maintenance.
It became clear that Dean’s natural charm and communication skills would be a great asset for the Park’s tours and Kids engagement programs. Dean worked at ARP for 4 years when his dream job came up at Devil Ark, starting out as a junior keeper. Within a year, he became Devil Ark Supervisor and has recently been promoted to Devil Ark Manager and sits on the committee of the Australasian Society of Zoo-keeping.