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Tim Tetzlaff with Lemur
Tim Tetzlaff and Father Jungle Larry

Father Jungle Larry and Tim with llama.


A Lifelong Passion for Wildlife
In 1972 at the age of four with his father and older brother off on safari in East Africa and his mother in the states overseeing zoo operations, Tim Tetzlaff was already talking to zoo guests about his growing knowledge of the animal kingdom. From that early age, Tim has continued to build a life on communicating the wonders of the animal kingdom to others.

And he had some great role models. His parents, Lawrence and Nancy Jane Tetzlaff, were well-known travelers and wildlife advocates who traveled the Midwest doing educational presentations on wild animals and the need for conservation for groups from school children to state Supreme Court Justices. By the time Tim started speaking, he had audiences of up to a million each summer at the Cedar Point theme park in Ohio as well as the guests to the more serene garden environment in Naples, Florida.

Tim Tetzlaff with Lemurs

Tim with ring-tailed lemurs in 1995.

The Education of a Lifetime
Tim spent his youth working in the zoos. From preparing balanced diets to maintaining their father's thorough cleaning protocols, Tim learned the hard work of caring for animals from reptiles to elephants. But Tim also spent many summers on the trails and paths speaking with guests one to one about the animals and the issues affecting them in the wild. In his late teens, Tim began caring for the big cats including venturing into direct contact with the tigers, lions, and leopards.

Formal Education
During the mid-1980s and again in the 90s, Tim took time away to attend The Ohio State University where he received his two degrees. During breaks and in the intervening years, Tim returned to both zoos to do educational presentations focusing on the exotic animals. After receiving his degree in education, he returned to the Naples location where over the next two years, he and his brother David collaborated on the most innovative conservation based educational program yet. To make their dream reality, Tim taught himself the world of computer graphics and then contacted wildlife conservation groups and private photographers for graphics, wildlife images, and video. Cooperation came from a broad spectrum of domestic sources as well as contacts in Australia, India, and Africa. What emerged was "Safari Canyon" - the first and still only presentation of its kind in the U.S. featuring living animals complemented by stunning wildlife footage giving audiences an accurate understanding of the animals and the issues affecting them in the wild.

Tim at Shira 1 Camp
on Mount Kilimanjaro



Educating for the Future
Today, Tim runs his full time conservation education efforts from his office in Ohio. Through monthly visits to the Naples Zoo and multiple daily phone conversations, video chat, and e-mails, he keeps in touch with the Zoo while updating the web site, preparing marketing and advertising materials, producing the next conservation partnership, researching the latest information from the field, or updating Safari Canyon graphics.

Tim is on the board of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group and serves as and advisor as well. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group and has previously served on the Conservation Education Committee as well as the Public Relations Committee and other ad hoc committees as needed for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

A few summers ago, Tim and his brother enjoyed a thrilling trip to Namibia's northern Kalahari where they spent an unforgettable few weeks traveling and enjoying the hospitality of a former warden of Etosha National Park and his family.

He has returned to the continent several times as host for classic East African Safaris through Kenya and Tanzania including some extraordinary time up in the alpine desert on Mount Kilimanjaro. Tim was thrilled he finally got to see the sights his father and brother saw in 1972 when he had to stay back home. Experiencing the wonders of the Ngoronogoro Crater,the Serengeti, Mount Kenya, and the Maasai Mara and getting to know the people in those areas are blessings he will long remember.

These departures to Africa sell out each year. Join him on the Zoo's safari in 2015 to Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa


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