Richard has been working as a keeper at Taronga Zoo for the past 20 years. Although he has worked with a variety of Australian fauna from seals to bilbies, his passion has always been for those of the feathered kind.
From the age of nine, Richard would spend countless hours in bird shops deciding on which species he would like to keep next. He was forever building new aviaries in his backyard and rescuing orphaned birds found in his local area.
As a Senior Keeper, Richard has been involved in many successful breeding programs for endangered species including the Regent Honeyeater. He also has rare expertise in hand-rearing and artificial incubation of a wide variety of bird species from the Forest Kingfisher to the Andean Condor.
He is most passionate about Australian native bird species and the important habitats they live in. Being involved in the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Program from the outset has been a real highlight he says. From the very first collection of wild chicks to successfully breeding them in the zoo and then releasing their descendants back into the wild has been most rewarding.
“You’re always learning with birds, they are so much more complex in their variety and needs than mammals. I have looked after everything from a nine gram Fairy Wren to a 60kg Cassowary. They all have very different dietary, social, breeding and habitat requirements that can sometimes take years to discover and perfect.”