Meet the Team - Frank
Meet Frank, our Wildlife Curator, who joined the Lone Pine family in 2011. As curator, Frank manages the care of Lone Pine's wildlife, ensures excellent animal welfare for all individuals, and progresses exhibits through inspiring and innovative design and construction.
20 years of experience
Frank has been in the zoo industry for 20 years and brings a world of knowledge and passion to Lone Pine. Along with completing studies in the field, Frank spent four years in South Australia setting up a rescue centre which specialised in the conservation and rescue of Southern Hairy-nosed wombats and raptors, among other native wildlife. Some of his off-site expeditions included population surveys of the endangered Red Goshawk in far North Queensland, and several team research trips to Cape York collecting information and researching the movements of Estuarine Crocodiles within their natural environment.
At Lone Pine, Frank has a soft spot for our raptors and enjoys working with them the most because of their strength, tenacity, boldness, and their drive to succeed.
“’Maverick', our peregrine falcon, is my favourite individual because of his kind nature, and acceptance of all of those who work with him", says Frank. "He is also the fastest animal on the planet. Well, not him personally, but his species... although he thinks he is pretty quick."
Exhibit design and construction
A key part of Frank’s role as curator is to continuously improve the lives of the animals in our care through the use of the Five Domains Model; nutrition, health, environment, behaviour and mental state, through which exhibit design plays a big role.
“We have a responsibility to provide our animals with full, enriched lives. One way we can do this is through well-designed exhibits that cater for the needs of the species and the individual”, says Frank. Our two most recent exhibit upgrades, our Dingo Exhibit and Amphibian & Reptile Habitat, are perfect examples of this. Along with our Head of Mammals and Head of Reptiles, Frank worked tirelessly to design and create environments for our dingoes and reptiles which were reflective of their natural habitats and provide the individuals with enriching lifestyles.
Through the use of elevated platforms and bridges throughout their exhibit, our dingoes are now able to view their surroundings from a whole new perspective, being able to see out and over areas such as our Kangaroo Reserve, cassowary exhibit, and guest rest areas. The exhibit has also been designed with multiple areas to encourage natural behaviours such as running, jumping, bathing, digging and resting. With a new space four times larger than the recommended exhibit size for two dingoes, ‘Simpson’ and ‘Tanami’ are certainly loving their new digs.
The Amphibian & Reptile Habitats have been designed to reflect three natural habitats (bush, rainforest and desert), and will grow and establish themselves as self-sustaining ecosystems as they would in the wild. Our habitats will also allow for multiple species to co-exist in the one space, which will enable our reptiles and amphibians to interact and live alongside each other, further reflecting and encouraging natural behaviours. The design redcues barriers, giving our guests the experience of being immersed in the animal's natural environment by utilising clear acrylic dividing walls and floor to ceiling viewing windows. This creates a picture of the natural environment and the reptiles found within it, with each habitat flowing seamlessly from one exhibit to the next.
“Within Lone Pine, we are lucky to have several staff who are very technologically-minded which has been an exciting addition to our exhibit design”, says Frank. “We are integrating app-based cameras, environment sensors (temperature, humidity, air quality, wind speed and water quality), and smoke detectors into our exhibits. This has given our keepers the ability to monitor animals and their environments from a distance. Systems are able to automatically notify our keepers of any extremes in the environments if they occur, and keepers can then make immediate steps to rectify them.”
Next visit, be sure to check out our most recently designed exhibits, and keep an eye out for what is to come.