Jose Altuna: Keeper, Marine Mammals, Taronga Zoo

Jose has been a keeper at Taronga for the last ten years.  Prior to this he was a supervisor at a Sydney  Based Wildlife park for three years.  Jose has trained and cared for a diverse range of animals in both the bird show and Marine mammals precincts.  From White bellied sea eagles to Fiordland crested penguins and Leopard Seals, Jose has worked with them all.

He says that training such a unique range of animals in such a close, one on one environment is incredible.  Taronga’s marine mammal team are considered to be leaders in many fields, especially when it comes to caring for and training Leopard seals as Taronga is the only zoo in the world that has them. 

In addition to training and caring for these animals, Jose is also involved in managing Taronga’s very successful breeding population of Little Penguins.  Recently thirty Little Penguins made the journey to Germany to commence the first global breeding program outside of Australia for this species.  This transfer was only made possible by the results achieved by Jose and the other Marine mammals staff.  Pairs of Little Penguins travelled in pairs in specially made travel containers that simulated their burrows so they were comfortable and safe during the flight.

“Working so closely with so many amazing animals found in our oceans you really appreciate how important it is to only use sustainable seafood products.  Understanding how large the problem really is makes you feel like it’s something visitors really need to know about so they can take action to help ensure these animals have plenty of fish in our oceans for life” Jose said.