The care of the cold-blooded inhabitants of Crocworld Conservation Centre will now be in the capable hands of James Wittstock (24), the newly-appointed Reptile Curator at the Scottburgh-based centre. Starting at Crocworld in August of this year, James will be tasked with ensuring the welfare of numerous reptiles – from 20 different species – throughout the facility.
“We are very excited to welcome James to the Crocworld Conservation Centre family,” said Martin Rodrigues, Manager of Crocworld Conservation Centre. “He comes from an extensive background in reptile care and has a personal passion for animal welfare and conservation. His wealth of knowledge on reptiles and positive approach to all tasks will undoubtedly make him a big asset to Crocworld. We are already working on a number of exciting new projects for the centre.”
James, who is a member of the Association of Reptile Keepers in KwaZulu-Natal, made the move to Pennington on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast from his former home in Durban North at the end of July. For the past four-and-a-half years, James has been working as a herpetologist in the Dangerous Creatures department of uShaka Sea World in Durban.
His interest in reptiles began in childhood when he was introduced to them by his father: “My dad is an avid reptile enthusiast and brought me up having the same passion for reptiles that he does. I enjoy the rescue and rehabilitation side of working with animals the most, and I thoroughly enjoy being able to have a hand in positively helping animals – and the environment – as a whole.”
Commenting on his recent appointment, James said: “I am extremely excited to have joined Crocworld Conservation Centre – it is an awesome facility with an amazing variety of animals. I hope I am able to execute several new projects that will continue to keep Crocworld such a big attraction to the area.”
Along with his expertise, James brings with him a number of new additions to Crocworld Conservation Centre. Among these are a breeding pair of ridge-tailed monitors – of Australian origin – as well as some stunning Amazon Tree Boas.
James’ passion for reptiles extends beyond work hours, with a number of snakes found at his home premises as well. Outside of his reptilian interest, James is an avid player and spectator of rugby and soccer, as well as a keen wildlife photographer.
Visitors can get the chance to view the newest reptile additions alongside more than 44 bird species and numerous other wildlife Crocworld Conservation Centre. For more information, visit www.crocworld.co.za