Hermanoearth spent the beginning of his adult life learning from his surroundings and caring for many animals. During his Environmental Studies at James Cook University up in Northern Queensland, Australia, he started volunteering at the local Wildlife Reserve. Soon, he was hired as one of the Zookeepers.
It was probably one of the happiest times of my life, but short lived. For as long as I could remember as a young boy, I wanted to be a Zookeeper. Here I am at 22, and already living my dream? As much as I loved giving all of my energy every day to my favorite animals on earth, and teaching visitors of the species struggles ahead, I felt there was more for me out there. I wanted to reach out to more people, and make more of a difference. The Tiger Harri, my infatuation, was soon traded to a breeding program. The same day I was invited to help build a wildlife refuge in Iquitos, Peru. I took it as a sign to move on.
I remember my favorite professor pulled me aside at the end of my education to tell me that my grade she has to give me on my final report, reflects that of a Scientific paper. I would try to write logistically, but it naturally came out as a story. She said, “ Michael I’m sorry I have to give you this grade, but I want you to know how much I enjoy reading your assignments. Don’t ever stop writing, the way you write.”
Still young and a bit scatter brained mixed with heartache from time in the Amazon, I detoured and started modeling in New York City, then went on to produce t.v shows in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until an opportunity came my way at the perfect time, to write and report for a documentary on an Elephant Hospital in Thailand. My world seem to all come together, and hermanoearth’s “Travel with Purpose,” was born.
Oh my, what piercing eyes you have
Every lion cub in a litter develops a different role. Some like to lick and some like to bite. Some are obsessed with feet and hands, and some instinctively want to pounce on your back. This is no coincidence. In the wild as they grow, they will find there place in the hunt for survival. Some will be drawn to the limbs to unstabilize their prey, while another will jump on the back to ad weight and force. Together, they are the perfect predator.
The Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve was mostly home to exotic African animals, but as a local zoo we had a responsibility to the local wildlife as well. People would bring orphaned or injured animals to us, and of course we would build a place for them on the land, and in our hearts.
No one was as needy as this baby possum that had to come home with me for a while. If I put him in a cage he wines, if I let him out he claws his way up my leg and into my hair. I blame him for the thinning on top haha. The poor bugger lost his family, and I can be a sucker.
I took photos through out my days that were used for new ad campaigns to attract visitors. The Park was in the beginning stages of being rescued from abandonment when I came along. It was a big effort we all made to “give it a go.”
Photo by: Michael Wysocki
Poster for sale at the zoo gift shop. Photo of Zeke, the male cheetah by: Michael Wysocki
Every day at 1:15pm, we conducted a cheetah feed and chat for visitors. Sometimes I had to feed and talk, but no harm done 🙂 It was thrilling
Nikelli is an African White Rhino. He is very sensitive, and uses his sense of smell and hearing to recognize me, and the fact that I mean a back scratch and food. The name White actually comes from the word “wide,” because his mouth is wide compared to pointy like that of a Black Rhino. This is an adaptation so they can forage for different plants and not compete for food. Isn’t nature awesome!
Baby Pigmy Hippos rival baby elephants with their cuteness. The only time visitors could actually see them was during feeding. Otherwise they simply float and instinctively hide under fallen branches in their large lagoon. At the time, they were the only Pigmy Hippos in Australia, but naturally they belong in the Congo jungle of Africa.
Zeke and Zara are brother and sister. Zeke is sweet, Zara is feisty. Surprise! haha Can you tell who’s who?
The Lions are playful and lovable as teenagers, but we stop this kind of interaction when they are adults. We always went in as a team, because the teenagers can get carried away and can accidentally hurt us. They don’t know that we don’t have a hide like them.
Often, I had to assist in surgeries. They were incredible long days that I remember very clearly
I call this Lionluvin. Lions can be so affectionate to one another that it is envious to any human
Every since we started cyclone training, which was luring the spider monkeys inside and locking them in, taco caught on and never would come in to eat when it was raining. So, I brought treats to him. If a real cyclone came, well, we would figure it out 🙂
Quambi was bullied by the other ostriches, so we put her in Nakelli, ( Rhino’s) enclosure. They become more than just company, they were friends. Fun fact: An Ostrich has to eat pebbles with their food in order to grind and digest inside their bellies. Oh, and they can be mean bullies for sure.
Harri is being transferred to the Perth Zoo in Western Australia, where a mate awaits him. With fewer than 500 Sumatran Tigers left in the world, every breeding opportunity is precious. I feel proud of myself for helping. Go gettem Tiger 🙂
With the going of our male Sumatran Tiger, we prepped for the arrival of the sassy female Tigris. I hope she likes her flowers, and me 🙂
My Australian ‘human” Family