Jungle Joe’s Biography
Joe Fortunato, zookeeper, adventurer, wildlife educator is the host and founder of “Jungle Joe’s Wildlife Adventures.” Fortunato, aka “Jungle Joe”, saw the need for a professional wildlife education service in southeastern Pennsylvania that was fun, educational and affordable. Using exciting live animal shows, Jungle Joe enlightens audiences, while teaching respect and appreciation for exotic, unusual and amazing animals, as well as the importance of recycling to protect the environment. Joe’s programs, including “Jungle Joe’s Wildlife Adventures” traveling zoo (formerly Animal Junction) inspire consciousness and passion for wildlife and the world around us.
Since early childhood Joe has always been fascinated by wildlife, most particularly exotic plants and animals. He has well over thirty years of experience working extensively with exotic animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids. In the 1980’s he performed volunteer work at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA and managed a large pet store chain, Worldwide Aquarium, for many years. While working at the pet store, Fortunato bought a blue and gold macaw, named Ziggy, which is the oldest and dearest member of his animal ambassadors.
In 1989 Joe joined the Philadelphia Police Department, and still maintained his collection of plants and animals. Joe frequently traveled to Florida where he photographed many species of exotic plants and animals throughout the state, including the Everglades. He fell in love with the tropical atmosphere, which was ideal for keeping exotic plants and animals, so in 1992, Joe moved to Broward County, Florida, to continue his career in law enforcement, while pursuing his dream of setting up an exotic animal breeding facility, named Creatures of Myth, Inc.
Years later Joe returned to Pennsylvania, where he served as a police officer in Bucks County. In 2006, Joe was forced to retire from his career in law enforcement due to an injury sustained in the line of duty. During his recuperation period, he began focusing on his true love of wildlife. Joe decided to turn his lifelong interest and knowledge of unique animals into an educational experience for people of all ages to enjoy. Joe went from being sworn to “protect and serve” to that of “protect and preserve.”
In 2006 Joe incorporated Animal Junction, Inc., a traveling wildlife educational company located in Bucks County, PA. In 2008 he founded the Bucks County Zoo and Conservation Society, a non-profit entity, and served as executive director. In 2010 Jungle Joe’s Wildlife Adventures was voted the best Animal Education Center in Pennsylvania by OfficialBestOf.com.
Joe has appeared as an animal expert on many local television and radio shows, including Philly Fox 29 – Good Day Philadelphia, Comcast Newsmakers, Eyewitness News this Morning, Comcast Local Edition, CW Philly, CBS 3 –KYW TV, and WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show.
In July 2009 , the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) accredited Animal Junction/Jungle Joe’s Wildlife Adventures and in October 2009 his facility was accredited by the Feline Conservation Accreditation (FCF). Joe is presently a member of numerous organizations, including the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK), the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZAA), the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF), and the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). Fortunato continuously advances his knowledge of exotic wildlife, through extensive research, attending lectures and seminars on the latest procedures and technical advances, hands on training, consulting outside professionals, and extensive travel throughout the world. He has been to Africa, Indonesia and the Galapagos Islands to study, film and photograph wildlife.