Jungle Bob

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Jungle Bob’s…
“Green” before it was trendy

Jungle Bob’s infectious passion for some of the worlds most “Unloved, Unusual and Unknown” began years ago when as a 6 year old boy he realized he had a natural affinity towards these special creatures.

As the founder of the International Fauna Society (501c3), Jungle Bob produced an over the top National Geographic quality magazine known as FAUNA which featured amazing images from some of the world’s greatest wildlife photographers. He opened  The Serpentarium in Riverhead, a living museum, which showcased 200+ animals in naturalistic vivariums.

Jungle Bob Smith is a pioneer in the proper care of reptiles in captivity, having conceived produced and distributed the KEEPER newspaper, a national newspaper that went out FREE OF CHARGE to pet’s stores, exhibitions and libraries nationwide.

In between he led a chosen few on a once in a lifetime eco-trip to the Costa Rican rainforests to show people first hand the beauty of nature at all levels.

Jungle Bob has brought the plight of the forests and the creatures that inhabit them to the masses.  A veteran of over 40 trips to tropical rain forests and dozens more to wild habitats around the globe, Jungle Bob has dedicated his resources and continues to expand his efforts to try and save it.

Understanding that education is key to conservation, Jungle Bob has personally touched the lives of thousands of people through informative traveling live animal presentations where he weaves tales from his travels, shares his knowledge and passion of the subject, while dispelling the myths associated with these amazing creatures.

“I was in successful in the computer business for many years. Often I would sneak out in the middle of the day to do these presentations donning my jungle garb, with trademark Australian bush hat and snake hook. I get a lot of satisfaction when I see the kids eyes light up and always try to leave them wondering what else there is to learn.”

Jungle Bob’s passion is in fact so infectious that all those who experience his lectures have come away impressed and moved by the experience.  “Jungle Bob has a special way with kids but can communicate to senior citizens just as well as eight year olds.” said one third grade teacher recently in his home town of Northport.

The message isn’t LOVE WHAT I LOVE; it is be respectful of all living things. There are so many well intentioned not for profit “GREEN” types running around expounding their virtues that might kill a snake out of fear if they saw it come across their lawn. “They just aren’t educated!” says Jungle Bob, “We try to point out that reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates really make up a large volume of the life on Earth and have every right to live as much as the lions, tigers and bears. Money pours into certain not for profits that focus primarily on large mammals and that is great, but what we really need to try and do is save wild places, so all wildlife can live harmoniously, with limited or no exposure to humanity and let nature take its course, not decide which ones to save and which ones to ignore.”

So what kindled the passion in this city kid with the most common name?

Actually it went back to his early childhood growing up in West Babylon, NY. Being a “city kid” Little Bobby wasn’t being readily accepted in this suburban Long Island neighborhood until the day a common garter snake crossed his path. “There were kids screaming in the yard adjacent to mine and I was interested in finding out what was going on. Before I could make my way around the hedgerow this 3′ snake came streaking through and crossed right in front of me! Without hesitation, or without thinking, I picked it up”. The kids who were yelling and chasing it all stopped dead in their tracks as this crazed “NEW KID” was handling the “serpent”. “My mother, who was from Brooklyn, came flying out of the house, screaming for me to drop it, thinking incorrectly that since it was a snake that it was therefore venomous. It was like a slow motion scene from one of those old Sam Peckinpah movies! Almost surreal”

Of course there was no danger but Jungle Bob immediately felt the connection to the snake and enjoyed the reactions from those around him. The thirst for knowledge began to flow and a lifelong passion was born.

Reptiles incredibly kick started Jungle Bob’s business career as well. “At one point my garage was filled with reptiles I had collected in the areas around my home and kids from other neighborhoods would come to me to buy them.” His entrepreneurial itch accelerated when he hopped aboard his trusty sting ray bicycle and pedaled miles to the local pet store to see if they might be interested. “It was the pet department in the old Times Square Stores (TSS). The manager would meet me at the back door and ask me “whaddya got this week kid?” He would pay me .25c for snakes I had stuffed in my blue jeans and then buy me an ice cream at the snack bar. If my mother had any clue what I was doing or where I was! Certainly those were different times.”

The self taught lessons that started those lazy summers ago stuck with him. He began to travel, to photograph and collect rare captively born reptiles. He has propagated dozens of species as another method to conserve wildlife. “There is little need to take an animal from the wild to sell it as a pet when so many are available from breeders, just like dogs, cats and birds”.

Indeed, Jungle has been a trailblazer in many ways.

“Let’s face it, our generation isn’t leaving the environment in the best shape, my goal is to ignite a conservation spark in my audiences, particularly the children. Perhaps they will make the difference in saving our planet in the future.”

GREEN comes naturally to Jungle Bob and he lights up when he starts to convey his knowledge to you, a true wildlife warrior, who feels as at home in Central Park as he does in the Amazon.

So rest in peace Steve Irwin, there is a new champion on this side of the globe to keep the beacon lit and your message in the limelight.

Our hat’s off to Jungle Bob.

Jungle Bob
"Let's face it, our generation isn’t leaving the environment in the best shape, my goal is to ignite a conservation spark in my audiences, particularly the children. Perhaps they will make the difference in saving our planet in the future."
- Jungle Bob
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