Diploma in Agriculture, Class of 1973
Now Director of Monarto Zoo, Peter’s journey after Roseworthy is nothing short of extraordinary. His diploma gave him the opportunity to work in Papua New Guinea as an agricultural advisor on a three-year contract. When the country achieved independence in 1975, he was given the choice to take up a new position. Peter ended up spending 30 years in Papua New Guinea, moving from agriculture to wildlife and getting involved with crocodile, cassowary, butterfly and insect farming.
In 1978, Peter co-founded a wildlife business, the Insect Farming and Trading Agency (IFTA) at Bulolo, which incorporated farming and collecting insects with the help of 2000 village people from across PNG. Peter then built the Rainforest Habitat in Lae. The centre piece was a 3000 square metre/11m high canopy encompassing jungle vegetation, a lake and waterfall, complete with animals and Birds of Paradise. Besides being a tourist attraction, they would bring in schools for environmental education. At IFTA they kept up to 300,000 insects in stock which were sold to dealers and collectors around the world. PNG has some of the biggest and most spectacular insects in the world. The business stayed active for over 25 years.
Roseworthy was Peter’s stepping stone to Papua New Guinea, which in turn led him to continue his career in conservation with Monarto and Adelaide Zoos. He has worked with Zoos SA since moving back to Australia in 2003.
“Monarto has grown quite a lot since we’ve been here and we have a lot more coming, so I’m pretty happy here!”
What does Peter love about his work in animal conservation?
“There are a lot of amazing projects I get to be involved with working at Monarto Zoo, and I guess I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Roseworthy. Besides growing Monarto, my passion is promoting community conservation: wildlife and habitat conservation involving the community.”