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Dr. Jungle's Animal-World Team

Dr. Jungle's team member profiles

The Animal-World team consists of independent animal professionals, experts, hobbyists, and students. Each work in the areas of their individual strengths and expertise. They are not employees, but rather people who contribute to and/or contract a dedicated amount of time, effort, and content. They provide research, writing, photography and videos, as well as computing and programming skills, public relations, and social communication services, and more. Some jump in on an "as needed basis" while a number of people continually assist on an on-going basis.

There are also hundreds of other wonderful people who have graciously contributed their photos, pets, stories, and information to Our sincerest thanks to everyone for helping make.Animal-World such a great pet and animal information resource! Learn more about Dr. Tobias Jungle and Animal-World.

The Brough Family

David Brough and Clarice Brough at a dog sled camp in Alaska

"The animals of the world provide a kinship and love for all of mankind. Learning about animals, loving and caring for them, helps each person in return. To know an animal is to know ourselves.

"Interacting and caring for our fellow inhabitants makes us vitally aware of how wonderful our world is, but also how fragile and delicate it is. Let's all help to preserve and honor the environment, but more importantly... let's be good friends, neighbors, and stewards of all the inhabitants of our world.

" is our gift to each of you and to the animals we share this planet with!"

Dr. Jungle & the Brough Family

Florida Panther poses with the Brough family!

Hello, I'm Dr. Jungle! Hello, I'm Dr. Jungle!

As a youngster I started traveling around the globe, talking with all kinds of unique and diverse critters. Though I mainly speak Toucanese, over the years I have become well versed in many animal languages, and here is what I've learned...

All sorts of animals have told me their stories. They have described what it's like to be pets in human households, such as yours. And they've told me what it's like to live close to humans, sharing the land, water and air. Rest assured, animals don't mind a bit sharing the environment with you, or sharing your home. After all you are fellow world inhabitants. But one thing all the animals, birds, fish, reptiles and other critters would like me to do is tell you more about themselves.

My animal friends have many funny stories, but what they really want me to share is a little bit of their families and history, what they need to be comfortable and healthy, and how much they enjoy being good friends and neighbors. So that's where comes in. And to help me accomplish this, I would like to introduce my very special human helpers!

Animal Information

Animal-World Newsletter

Graphic Art & Website Assistance

Jasmine Hinesley: Newsletter Editor and Aquariam Plants, Small Animals, and Birds ContributorJasmine Hinesley
California, USA

My name is Jasmine Hinesley. I am 29 years old, married and have three wonderful children. I received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2004. After graduation I began working in my field in Bakersfield, CA.

I have been around Animal-World since it was formed in 1997. I started working at Exotic Tropicals pet store - the precursor to the Animal-World website in 1994 - because I really enjoyed raising and owning small animals as pets as a child

I then started working part-time on the website in the summer of 2003 doing simple research and documentation on different animals. Then I picked up maintaining and editing the featured pets section of the website and coordinating the commenting system with other team members. I thoroughly enjoy it!

Today I am also the editor of our newsletter/blog. To check it out, Click on the link below, and see the latest stuff:

  • "Featured Pet of the Week" Article.
  • "New arrivals" - new pets and animals added to the Animal World website.
  • "Feature pets" contributed by readers like you!
  • Along with lots of articles and stories on all sorts of pet and animal stuff.

Please visit! and if you like what you see.... Sign up for weekly updates! Animal-World Newsletter

Carrie McBirney: Freshwater Fish, Saltwater Fish, and Coral Reef ContributorCarrie McBirney
Nevada, USA

I lived in NE Ohio until I was 30 and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000.  I have always loved the animal world in general and was glued to the TV for every episode of that weekly animal show "Wild Kingdom".... it was sponsored by Mutual of Omaha...ring a bell?

We have had our own wild kingdom growing up to the point my brother would answer the phone "Dunbar Zoo"!  That was when we had a cat, fish, a lizard and 2 hamsters.  Not a zoo by other people's view, but it was in my mom's eyes!  She was such a sport!  I have always loved cats, bred long haired hamsters for a short time...I mean LONG haired baby, as in front to back!  I have not seen one like those since the late 80's!

I have always had freshwater tanks from about 7th grade up on and off through the years.  I started into a Marine tank in April of '05 after a TON of research!  Only mistake was adding crushed coral!  After watching a poor peanut worm die (a hitchhiker on my LR) I switched over to sand.  I try to not make mistakes with purchases and I have done a LOT of reading re: fish compatibility coral/fish, coral/coral, well, you get the idea.

I do more research on one type of fish or coral than most people did on their entire tank full of fish.  Just because I am nuts!  No really, I am!  Once I start learning about a creature I will take in everything I can and read anything, talk to people who have had one, just to really understand the creature I have chose to keep for my enjoyment and their welfare.  Okay, I am not a fanatic, taking them where ever I go in a fishy tote, and I will not cancel an appointment because I forgot to feed them one morning, nor will I write them in my will, although I will be devoted to their care and be darned if I stand there and let some moron in a LFS tell someone that a 5" maroon clown is a mellow fish just to make a sale!

My husband and I will be married 19 years on July 11 this year.  We have discovered off roading and this discovery (well, before he chopped the top off) is currently being featured in 2 national off roading magazines!  4 wheeling and off road I think they are called. We have 10 and 14 year old daughters (the 14 year old is graduating high school this year!)  I got her started on developing a freshwater-planted tank. She loves her blenny, fire-belly newt, and African frog. The 10 year old, we are hoping can keep just one betta for now!  She loves it, and we are starting her off slow!]

Carrie is a very busy lady, and in her spare time she runs Kookamonga Kids, her Ebay store!

Cheryl Galloway: Birds and Exotic Animals ContributorCheryl Galloway
North Carolina, USA

All I wanted was a dog bone* Twenty years ago I stopped at a pet store to purchase dog bones and this big white feathered creature leaned over my shoulder and said "Home". What could I do but take him home, name him Sam and find out he was a Mollucan.  I did purchase a stand and left the store with Sam tucked under my right arm and held the stand with my left hand.   Sam ate breakfast lunch and dinner with me and I felt that it was a balanced diet and after all the pet store did not say to purchase seed or a cage and I never thought of it. After all I never purchased a cage for my other pets.  I did purchase a cage for Sam several months later when he ate all four of the 6 x 6 inch pillars in the dining room.

Sam was very well behaved and the three dogs and five cats were terrified of this very large white bird, especially when he spread his wings, bobbed his head and screamed.  Somehow they all managed to get along sleeping on my bed though.  If I had to go to work, I always left Sam lunch and he thrived, learned to talk and was very affectionate.  The intelligence of this feathered being amazed me so much that I went and purchased another bird, then another and another and another.

More birds joined our home.  Blue  and Golds, Scarlets, Greenwings, Camelot's, Verdi's, Red Fronts, Buffon's, Black Palms, Toucan's Queens, caiques and a little Panama Amazon that was two days old and I named him Peppy.  Peppy is now 24 and still runs the home.  He flies in my room and gets in my bed and yells "Wake up Ma"  **till I get up.  Of course then I have to brush his "teeth" and put a little makeup on him.  Then we go eat breakfast.

I never liked any animal to be by themselves, so I always bought a second one as a friend for each.  You don't spay birds and so then you start having baby birds.  That led to Gems of the Sky, a move to five acres, incubators and licenses and inspections.Then I purchased Muntjac deer, fox, wallabies, smaller birds, monkey's and miniature horses.  My children begged me to please not tell anyone.

That was the beginning of Gem's of the Sky and it was created to raise, breed, and sell exotic animals and I firmly believed those little feathered friends would never bite anyone.  They were raised individually with stuffed animals, music boxes, sleeping in the beds and carried to various stores. My family wound up raising over 160 parrots from a very young age, setting them up to breed and then feeding their babies.  No one has ever been bit. Our feathered friends do not go to the bathroom in the house.  They frequently crawl in bed with us and play tricks.  We have had our problems. For example, Samurai learned how to break out of any cage and then he would break out of the home walking the block to the bus stop to meet the kids coming home from school.I still have never gotten over or come to grips with the intelligence of these creatures.  Their companionship has provided me with years of pleasure and laughter.  Their love is unselfish and forgiving.  You just have to learn that you are trainable and listen and do what they tell you.Prior to that I had the normal job and ran a computer company which I sold in 1987 and retired. I have a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from Lycoming College and a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Florida.

Jeremy Roche: Fresh Water, Salt Water, and Mini Reef ContributorJeremy Roche
Maine, USA

A little about me. I was injuried in the service and retired a few years ago. I am a NAUI Dive Master here in Maine and own a little pizzeria. I have spent a lot of time working with groups aiding in the studies of over fished ocean creatures.

I spend most of my free time in the ocean, i work as a Dive Master teaching at University of New England part-time. Spent time in California photographing shark encounters for divers.

I've been on various dive study expeditions around the world. Earlier in life I went to school for Zoology. Managed a chain of pet stores in New York the specialized in exotic animals. I also raised and bred large snakes for a number of years. I currently have two 300 gal Saltwater tanks that I have had going for the past 6 years, almost all wild caught fish in these tanks. I also have a couple large freshwater tanks going as well.

Animal-World is a fun and intereting venture!

Greg Rothschild: Freshwater Fish, Saltater Fish, and Coral Reef ContributorGreg Rothschild
California, USA

Greg grew up in Southern California in the 60's and 70's. His family took vacations once a year to places like Yosemite or the Sequoias and that's where his love for nature started. While working as a sound technician for television and movie production his passion for the outdoors was fueled by taking trips every spring, summer and fall to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, southern Utah and northern Arizona, the Colorado Rockies, the Oregon coast and many of the lesser known wild places in the western U.S.

It was on a fall day in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado that his interest in photography started. "I'd hiked out to the edge of a mountain and was enjoying one of the most magnificent sunsets I'd ever seen-- a 14,000 foot snow-capped mountain covered with golden aspens, a flaming red sky behind... and a point and shoot camera that wouldn't work! Right at that moment I decided to buy a good camera and learn how to use it."

In the mid-90's Greg got his first saltwater aquarium. The hobby turned into a passion just as great as his love for the outdoors and photographing the tanks inhabitants was a natural thing to do. "Now I had subjects to photograph right in my own living room - no need to fly (or drive) a thousand miles to take pictures!” Nowadays Greg moderates the photography forum on Reef Central, the world's biggest bulletin board for saltwater aquaria and his photos are used throughout the saltwater aquarium industry.

Hiroyuki Tanaka: Saltater Fish ContributorHiroyuki Tanaka

I was born in Miyazaki in July, 1954. Today I am a medical doctor, practitioner, and director of my own clinic in Miyazaki City. I have a strong interest in marine aquarium fishes, including angelfishes, butterflyfishes, damselfishes, wrasses, and more. My other strong interests include tropical and sub-tropical fruits (especially in custard apples) and standard music

I have photographed many marine aquarium fishes both in homes and at retailers. At present my stock of photos is some 3000 in total and some of these have been shown on several websites in the USA and in Germany. I have contributed to several recent marine fish books with my own photos, knowledge, and experience.

My first marine fish book Angelfishes was published by Helmut Debelius, Hiroyuki Tanaka & Rudie Kuiter in 2003. I have written over 70 marine fish articles that have been contributed to Tropical Fish Hobbyist (USA), Fish Magazine / Marine Aquarist / Tropical Marine Aquarium, Salt&Sea (Japan),and AQUA (Thailand).

I have been keeping marine fishes for more than 32 years and now am concentrating on keeping and studying fairy & flasher wrasses.  One of the present dreams is to publish a book onCirrhilabrus, Conniella& Paracheilinus. I have produced a CD on them but the book is still in progress.

My first scientific paper on marine fish species (as a second author) described a new dottyback Pholidochromis cerasina, with Dr. Antony C. Gill. Another dottyback Lubbockichthys tanakai Gill & Senou (Tanaka's Dottyback) was named after my family name. Now I am preparing several papers on new species with some ichthyologists.

Ken Childs: Freshwater Fish Contributor and Horse PhotographerKen Childs
Tennessee, USA

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I worked for an importer in Los Angeles for 22 years and recently retired from the fish business to setup a horse training and retirement facility in Tennessee. The horse business is really my wife's but she needs someone to keep the place in good condition.

I do know a bit about keeping fish but really my years in the import business gave me the inside scoop on where the fish come from and how they are raised or collected.It also gave me access to a lot of cool fish and animals. Instead of keeping them as pets myself, I was content to take shots of the best stuff so I have an extensive collection of pictures.

Joan Childs: Horse Contributor Joan Childs
Tennessee, USA

Joan Childs is a successful dressage and eventing coach and competitor from Southern California. She is also a former animal control officer and veterinary assistant. She has completed the USEA (United States Eventing Association) Official Instructors Certification Dressage and Jumping Workshops.

Joan’s home bred mare, El Queso Grande, won the open second level title at the ABIG/USDF region 7 championships in 1997, and took second place at third level. El Queso Grande was also a successful event horse, competing through the preliminary level. Some of her other eventing stars include Hexidecimal, Fleet Smiley and Kosmo.

When forced as a teenager to euthanize her aging show horse, Joan envisioned a comfortable and affordable haven to provide owners an option which would allow their retired show horses to live out their years in comfort and dignity. Recently relocating to western Tennessee, she has moved and expanded her boarding and training stable, Finish Flag Farms, as a culmination of that dream.

Finish Flag Farms is a show horse retirement ranch and training center. It is owned and run by Equine professional Joan Childs, a successful dressage and eventing coach and competitor from California.

Barbara Roth: Freshater Fish and plants ContributorBarbara Roth, "Yvonne"
Utah, USA

My introduction to the world of animals was far from exceptional; I colored in their outlines during preschool and covered my things with their neon and sparkly cartoon stickers.

My contact with real animals would come not long after, because I begged for a pet. But, deprived of all things furry, terrified of the dinosaur descendants, intimidated by the avians, I was left with fish. The first tank I could call my own was the typical two goldfish ten gallon.

Fast forward to today, and I find myself with three established tropical freshwater tanks, that have seen years worth of fish and ever changing jungles of aquarium plants. I’ve also gotten the status every fish keeper dreams of: becoming one of the regulars at my local fish store.

The aquatics hobby has been one of the constants in my life. My story started in Utah where I grew up and went to school. After high school, I moved to Kiel, Germany where I work and attend university. Aside from pets it is loud music, the company of good friends, quality cooking and of course travel that make me the happiest.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to share some of my experiences and give back to, the website that helped me get my start in the Aquatics hobby

Alex Burleson: Freshater Fish ContributorAlex Burleson
Utah, USA

I have been interested in fish ever since I was a baby. My dad had a large community aquarium, and I would watch the fish swim around for hours. I literally started learning about fish when I was very young, and I was always a great observer.

I am interested in Photography, Art, Music, and Web Design. Personal photography can allow people to see images as they never would before. It gives you a peek into another backyard, city, country, or even a life. As photography gets better, and cameras are developed ever so better, we will be able to see things better than ever. Art is something that allows us humans to express ourselves. Every person adds their own unique tough to their own art. Music is something that can greatly affect our moods, and I enjoy listening to it. Now Web Design, is something I am good at. I like making and creating banners, and forum skins. Even though they are hard work, you get what you put into them. I also have great social skills, and can effectively communicate with almost any person.

My first task with was running two forums, Aquatic Passion and The Aquarium. Running two fish forums, I watched them grow into a larger, friendlier communities for people of every race, and age! People may have doubted my ability to run a forum successfully, because we were only teenagers, but it doesn't matter what age you are, if you believe in something, and put enough work and determination into something, it really pays off.

Now I am helping with all sorts of tasks, including answering people's fish questions and working on research and writing for the Freshwater Fish Atlas. I must say, this journey that Dr. Jungle has allowed me to take is something! And thank-you for reading my bio!

Alex Burleson: Freshater Fish ContributorFrank Schneidewind

As a great marine enthusiast and super member of the Animal-World Team, we can't describe Frank any better than how he describes himself in his own words, "I am an aquarist, diver, writer and photographer; specialized in african cichlids and coral reef fishes. I have published some books in Germany."

Frank, born 1967, has been an aquarist since his 5th year of life and was inspired by his father. Frank has kept and cultivated many different types of pets, but predominantly fish (freshwater and saltwater). Frank dealt with behavior research (ethology) early in his career and was marked by the documents of the famous Nobel prize winner Konrad Lorenz. His special subjects are cichlids (Lake Malawi & Lake Tanganyika) and coral reef fishes.

For his hobbies Frank journeys, doing diving, photography and literature. He has made innumerable dive trips and taken hundreds of photos under water. In addition to this, he regularly goes to public show aquariums all over the world. As a result of his observations and experiences he has published more as 220 articles and 12 books since 1985. Many of these were in German, but some were also translated into other languages including English. He is well known and you can find his photos in calendars and in many other books. Frank lives in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Here are some of Frank's Books, along with Coral Magazine which feature his articles!

Justin Brough: Small Animal Contributor, Dog and Cat PhotographerJustin Brough
Oregon USA

My name is Justin Brough and I work on the Animal-World website. Prior to this I worked for about 10 years (since I was nine years old) at Exotic Tropicals, our local pet store in Ridgecrest, California.

I've always had a great interest in animals, since the first dog and cat that my family owned, up to the exotic toucan that we now have. First and foremost however, I love felines of all shapes, sizes and colors. Cats are my favorite animal for a few reasons; they are clean, small, elegant, and above all… very, very CUTE! However, with a large background in all sorts of animals, I assist Animal-World on a regular basis in any area they need help.

I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona where I earned my bachelor's degree in Finance, Real Estate, and Law, with a minor in Political Science. I did an internship in the legal department of Town Pump Corporation in Butte, Montatn, after my third of college. My plans had been to pursue a law degree after taking some time to determine which schools and which states I would like to practice law in. I am interested in practicing corporate law. I was employed as a fincance manager in Anaheim, California before starting law school at the University of Oregon. I am currently in my third year in law and will be graduating this spring.

Ruth Bratcher: Small Animal and Reptile ContributorRuth Bratcher
California, USA

I am Ruth Bratcher, and I am currently a psychology student.  I completed my Bachelor's degree in Azuza, California, then finished my coursework for a Master's degree in school psychology at Humboldt State University in the fall of 2006. I am currently working as a one-year intern school psychologist in Rosemond, California and will receive my master's degree upon completion.

   Some of my hobbies include playing the flute and piano, needlepoint, and stamp collecting. I also enjoy hiking and camping. Nature in any way is a pleasure for me.

   I have always loved animals.  When I was little I was often found watching various insects at recess, rather than playing on the playground.  My first pet was a mouse, and I have owned many other rodents, including rats, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs.  Now I have a 13-year-old dachshund, a cat, and many goldfish and frogs that live in my pond.  Right now, I am writing small animal breed profiles as well as reptile profiles for Animal-World. I plan to write profiles for other animals in the future.

Heiko Bleher: Freshwater Fish ContributorHeiko Bleher

Heiko Bleher was born on October 18, 1944 in Frankfurt, Germany to Ludwig Bleher and Amanda Flora Hilda Kiel. Amanda’s father Adolf Kiel was the well-known “Father of Water Plants”, a pioneer of the modern aquarium who established the world’s largest plant and ornamental fish farm in Frankfurt.

Amanda traveled around the world collecting fishes and plants. Just as Amanda followed in her father’s footsteps, so Heiko followed his mother’s. At 4, he saw his first aquarium fishes and discus at an aquarium fish exhibition in the still ruined Frankfurt Zoo. Later he traveled with her to Africa then, aged 6, throughout Europe collecting plants and fishes. He learned about the life and behavior of fishes, and became familiar with the amazing variety of fish that exist in unspoiled nature and he also made his first discoveries at the age of 8, the wimpel-piranha, several armoured catfish and characoid species. In 1959 she decided to settle permanently in Brazil. It was there that Heiko helped build a water plant nursery and fish-reeding establishment in the jungle outside Rio.

In 1962, he moved to the US and attended the University of South Florida, studying ichthyology, biology, limnology, oceanography, parasitology and many others. At 19 became known in America as the best tropical fish breeder and received his first awards. Two years later he returned to Rio to open Aquarium Rio and start his own collecting in Brazil. In 1963 Heiko participated at the IGA 1963 in Hamburg, Germany, decorating his first large biotope aquarium (4000 litre) for which the German President handed him an award of “best tank decoration”. At the end of 1964/1965 he discovered the first new fish species to be named after him – Hemigrammus bleheri, the brilliant rummy-head tetra, now one of the most widely-sold aquarium fishes. He also discovered the “Royal Blue”, his first new strain of discus, now world famous along with many other species and variants.

Later Heiko explored many new, uncollected areas, and by 1967 he moved his company Aquarium Rio to Germany, returning monthly to Brazil and South America to collect. Heiko penetrated jungles in all South and Central American countries. He also traveled to the Amazon area as many as 10 times a year in search of discus and others species. In the 1970s he expanded his operations to include Africa, Asia and Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, etc.) and began to give lectures around the world. He made his first Discus-TV film, “Expeditionsziel Aquarienfische” with the German ZDF and made many TV appearances in different countries. His first Discus book was published in 1982 and he has published articles on discus and other ornamental fishes in magazines around the world. His first documentary film “The Wimpel Piranha” was made in 1983, followed by films on freshwater fishes in New Guinea, Australia, Central America and Brazil, then four more films on discus in the 90s.

Until 1997 from Frankfurt he supplied wholesalers worldwide (to 86 countries from Aquarium Rio at the time biggest and most modern tropical fish export facilities in Europe – which was copied around the world) with new species, including new discus variants every year, mostly from his own discoveries.

Between 1965 and 1997, besides introducing most of the wild discus variants and most of the wild ornamental fishes into the hobby – directly or by means of the breeders – he introduced more than 4,000 aquarium fish species he had discovered (or re-discovered). This includes the variants discus and also rainbowfishes, angels such as Pterophyllum altum, dwarfs such as Nanochromis nudiceps and Steatocranus bleheri or Channa bleheri. Among other fishes attributable to Heiko’s explorations are also many loricariids (as many as 800 different species), new Corydoras species, almost countless tetras and dwarf cichlids from West Africa and South America, knife fishes, puffers and flounders. One of his best-known discoveries was the first freshwater sawfish known, in 1982, in a remote northern Australian lake.

For his contributions to the hobby Heiko was elected Man of the Year in England in 1993, and in 1994 Chevallier de Roc Amodour in France. He holds many other titles and has met kings, presidents, ambassadors and senators, but he is happiest and at his most relaxed away from it all when deep in the jungle searching for rare or new fishes and aquatic plants.

In 1992 he created the quarterly magazine “aqua geõgraphia”, for Aquaprint (later Aquapress) publishers. He is the managing editor of the quarterly scientific journal “aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology” today one of the most prestigious scientific journals and still finds time to write numerous articles – up to 50 each year. Heiko has been working for more than 20 years on a forthcoming tome on all fresh- and brackish water fishes with 25 000 photos. His 2006 written book Bleher’s Discus volume I has been considered the most successful discus book of all times. It is said to be “The Bible of Discus” around the world. His lectures take him to the five continents each year and he is frequently invited to judge fishes (mostly Discus) in exhibitions worldwide. He also collaborated with and organized the first International Discus Show and Exhibition in 1986 in Tokyo, coordinated the first three Aquarama Exhibitions and Conferences held biannually in Singapore and many others.

Since 2001 Heiko decorated (mainly in Europe) authentic biotope aquariums – as fishes live in nature, as he has seen it, which have become an international success. Heiko continues to travel almost monthly to remote jungle areas to find new fishes, and several times each year to unexplored Amazon habitats in search of discus and other fishes and aquatic plants... His life is dedicated to fishes, the freshwater habitats and their conservation on planet Earth as it the most precious good we have.

Since 2006 Heiko has a website and his scientific website

Pavaphon Supanantananon: Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef ContributorPavaphon Supanantananon

Pavaphon was born in Bangkok, Thailand in August, 1986. He is currently working on his bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts at Thammasart University, Thailand. In his own words, here's how Pavaphon describes his introduction to the intriguing world of marine fish,...

"I've been hooked on the fish keeping hobby since I was a child, learning from my father. I helped him with tank maintenance and fish selection since I was six. My interest includes all kinds of marine fishes but especially the weird and exotic looking ones, including rare species and variations.

I began to take the fish photos a few years ago from both my own tank and others, as well as contributing articles and pictures to several magazines and to websites. Some of those that publish my work include Aqua (Thailand) and DATZ (Germany), along with several websites. Today, I'm also one of the moderators for an all Thai marine website, reefthailand.

Russ Gurley: Reptiles, Turtles and Tortoises, Scorpions, and Tarantulas ContributorRuss Gurley
Minnesota, USA

Russ Gurley was a founding member of the American Federation of Herpetoculturists and worked as its Art Director in the early days. He has kept and bred a wide range of herps including snakes, geckos, skinks, and other lizards, and now devotes most of his time to keeping and breeding turtles and tortoises.

Russ is an author and director of the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group, a group of turtle and tortoise breeders dedicated to producing the world's rarest species. The TTPG hosts TURTLE NIGHT at the National Reptile Breeders Expo each summer. Russ travels extensively photographing turtles and enclosures and digs deep into captive breeding programs around the world to gain new ideas and methods for the best way to keep and breed turtles. Russ's personal turtle breeding programs have an emphasis on species from South America, Africa, and Madagascar. The TTPG breeders cover all the bases with some keepers specializing in North American species, others in Asian and Southeast Asian species, and more.

Russ is the author of a dozen books including Keeping and Breeding Freshwater Turtles, Baby Turtles, Turtles in Captivity, SULCATAS and Other Popular Tortoise species, and The African Spurred Tortoise in Captivity

Martin Kandilas: Bird, Saltwater Fish, Coral Reef, and Wildlife PhotographerMartin Kandilas

I became interested in photography as a young child. My father was a very accomplished photographer and he had a small darkroom at the back of the house. I started with a Kodak 'Box Brownie' when I was about 8 years of age, and with the help of my father learned to develop my own B/W prints. This was fun and extremely satisfying, and I took a quantum leap in photography when he got me a small 35mm Leica on my 18th birthday. I gradually learned about capturing and working with that elusive light that we all need to make a nice picture.

I started scuba diving in my late teens, and became interested in underwater photography. I undertook nearly 2 decades of travel through Australia and the South Pacific; capturing thousands of images, both above and below the surface. It was a wonderful journey and along the way I won awards in a long standing and very prestigious International underwater photographic competition. Being later asked to be a judge in the same competition was a great honor. I also did wedding photography for several years - always a challenge - but yet another way of being creative. Some of my best ever wedding images depicted those often candid, informal and loving moments that just cannot be staged.

With the amazing and diverse wildlife in Australia I've had a new lease of life in capturing images of these wonderful creatures. I particularly love bird photography, and we often have more than a dozen different species in our own backyard, with so many more species here on the Australian East Coast.

I’ll never stop learning - particularly now that the digital format provides so much scope to be more creative. My personal preference is the Nikon brand. I’ve owned and/or used everything from F to F5, Nikonos, D70, D200, D700 and D3 with lenses from 16mm fish-eye to 600mm telephoto. My two most used lenses are the 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8 and I’ve yet to see anything sharper.

Monica Rearick: Reptile ContributorMonica Rearick
Virginia, USA

My name is Monica and I live in good 'ol Virginia.  I'm seventeen and haven't moved once in my life, which is probably the only reason mom's allowed me to have so many animals.  I work in a local mom and pop pet store and have been there for about a year and a half now.  I have a large enough collection of animals to start charging admission, or at least to have them help me feed the gerbils, haha.

I breed parakeets, cockatiels, leopard geckos, and gerbils, and will start breeding poison dart frogs in May and corn snakes when they mature (probably not for another two years or so).  I have tons of other animals, naturally, but my room is only so big!

I hope to go for a biology or zoology major and I hope to find sponsors for my exotic animal shelter in the Tidewater area. I opened it because none of the shelters locally will accept any exotics and they are thus either released into the wild or euthanized.  I hope to be able to make a difference, even if it’s only in my area. A fun and educational experience.

Elizabeth Lukan: Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef ContributorElizabeth "Liz" Lukan
Pennsylvania, USA

I am a woman who wears many hats. I am a stay-at-home Mom with two kids which, of course, comes with it's own collection of hats to wear. Along with my partner, I run High Aspirations, Inc., a web design business.

Pets have always surrounded me. As a kid we had cats, dogs, hamsters, a rabbit, parakeets, canaries, cockatiels, a turtle, a lizard, frogs, and tadpoles. My brother and I even kept spiders we caught around the neighboring yards. Finally, and last but not least, a 10-gallon tropical fish tank. I can still picture it in my head - neons, mollies, swordtails, kissing fish (my Mom loved those guys), and two of the biggest, fattest goldfish I've ever seen. I know, goldfish in a tropical tank, what were my parents thinking? What did they know at the time, what did any of us know back in the 70's about fish keeping - things sure have changed.

My brother got me hooked on saltwater sometime in the 90's. The reef tank had to have a trickle filter but no skimmer. That was the way things were done then. Doesn't matter, I was hooked. I moved my goldfish from my 55 gallon to a 20 gallon and converted that 55-gallon into a reef tank. I read everything I could, researched new purchases, problems, and how-to's online, joined newsgroups, mailing lists, and more.

I publish Fish 'N' Chips (, a free monthly marine newsletter for reef and fish-only saltwater hobbyists. I discovered that there wasn't much information available that would come to me - I had to search it out, piece it together, and go from there. At that point I thought, if I'm doing this for myself already why not put it all together so I can help others in similar situations? So, with my husband Daniel's help as editor, advisor, sounding board and all-round encourager, Fish 'N' Chips was born with its first newsletter published in November 1998. It's been around ever since, and like that saltwater tank, I was hooked.

Todd Richardson: Computing and Website AssistanceTodd Richardson
Montana, USA

It's not so much the animals that drove me to work on Animal-World, but more the technical aspect.  Don't get me wrong, animals are fascinating and my pet piranha, Hubert, was the greatest.  But when you have thousands of unique pages with thousands more being served up.  Well, nerds get excited at the possibilities.

I started this computer career before there was an internet.  When the closest thing to file sharing was to bring a  stack of punch cards or ribbons to your friends house on your bike.  Fortunately these darkened days of old are passed and in only a hundredths of a second anyone can find themselves connected to the rest of the world.

Animals have tons of information that is just waiting to be discovered, evaluated, and eventually understood.  As vast as the information is at Animal-World, there are always more animals waiting to be discovered.  That is why I am involved in the project. "Todd's the guy who goes the mile, always bearing his winning smile, and as we know that's just his style."

Mike Thorpe: Graphics ContributorMike Thorpe
Utah, USA

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife Reba and our two kids Rachael (7) and James (3).

Other members of the family include Bo (our Yorkshire Terrier), Cookie (she's a Maltese-poodle mix), and our two frogs who watch us eat from their bowl on our kitchen table.

When I'm not contributing graphics to Animal -World (a site my family and I love to visit) I'm usually having fun with the kids, playing video games, or spending time at my job where I work to provide services to people with disabilities.


Denise Taormina: Canary and Small Birds ContributorDenise Taormina
Michigan, USA

Hello, my name is Denise Taormina. My husband Joe and I have been breeding birds off and on for about 15 years. We live in Clinton Township, Michigan, where we have a small home based aviary.  We have 3 human kids, Anthony 22, Sam 20, and Sandra 17, and many FIDS – “furred & feathered kids”.

We currently breed Parrotlets, Lineolated Parakeets (Linnies), and Canaries. Our web site has been very successful and we are very proud of the work we have done with it, I am happy to be associated with a quality site like animal world, and proud to be part of the writing staff.

Sandra Lloyd: Dog, Cat, and Horse ContributorSandra Lloyd
California, USA

I am Sandra Lloyd, a photographer for Animal-World. I attend a wide variety of animal shows and have taken many pictures, especially dog and cat pictures.  I am a native of Ridgecrest, CA and lived there for my entire childhood.  I moved down south to attend the University of California, Irvine and where I received my bachelor's degree in Neurobiology in the spring of 2007. I am now studying to be an equine veterinarian, and am currently enrolled at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

When I was in Ridgecrest I was involved in a plethora of activities, some of which are volleyball, drama, singing, and horseback riding.  I owned my own horse for a while and got very involved with the local Pony Club, an organization for young riders who want to learn English riding and jumping.  This led me to my current career goal to become an equine veterinarian because I love being outside and working with horses. I am very excited about this and I had been volunteering with an equine veterinarian in Ridgecrest and was employed with a small-animal clinic in Irvine while pursuing my bachelor's degree. I am fun and maybe too energetic at times, easily excitable, and love to eat food.

Julia Stepro: Graphics ContributorJulia Stepro
California, USA

I came from Russia in 1995 after I met the most wonderful man in the world and accidentally got married to my husband. To enrich my wonderful reality I started doing logo and web page design for the poor and needy (my children and myself).

You can visit Julia's website here: