Josh Ruffell is an animal trainer and zoo curator who has more than two decades of experience working with animals in the zoo and movie and television industry. Most recently, Josh Ruffell served as Assistant Curator at Australia Zoo in Queensland.
In addition to hosting many mammals, birds, and reptiles, Australia Zoo undertakes a number of conservation projects focused on specific animals in need. One such initiative is the Cassowary Conservation project.
The southern cassowary is an endangered bird notable for being a direct descendant of dinosaurs. Australia Zoo is working alongside other conservation organizations to protect and restore the bird’s natural rain forest habitat.
The Tasmanian devil is another animal Australia Zoo is working to save. These marsupials are at risk of devil facial tumor disease, a contagious form of cancer that can cause blindness and starvation. Without the continuation of protection efforts, research suggests the remaining animals in the wild, which number no more than 50,000, will be extinct within 15 years.
Australia Zoo has also established the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, in memory of the famous “Crocodile Hunter” as a tribute to his legacy. The reserve, officially declared a strategic environmental area in 2013, consists of 135,000 hectares of spring-fed wetlands that house and preserve many vulnerable species.