Peter Karsten was born in Göttingen, Germany and immigrated to Canada in 1962 after completing his education in agriculture. Shortly after his arrival in Calgary, Alberta he began working at the Calgary Zoo. In 1974, he became the Director of the Calgary Zoo and through his innovative ideas and management, changed the zoo from its traditional “bars and concrete” menagerie-style enclosures to habitat exhibits. Using his extensive experience and studies, Peter has provided the zoological world with numerous technical papers and articles on wild animal husbandry, zoo design, keeper training and other zoo-related topics. As the first president of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and as president of both the American and World Association Zoo and Aquariums he brought the Calgary Zoo to the forefront in the world. The Calgary Zoological Society and City of Calgary named the zoo’s education complex the “Karsten Discovery Center “ in recognition of his contributions.
In 1994, Peter retired to Denman Island to pursue his interest in zoo development and wildlife art. Besides numerous international zoo consulting contracts, Peter directed his attention to breed Pekin Robins. As his family often says “you can take the Zoo Director out of the Zoo, but not the Zoo out of the Zoo Director”! Pekin Robins received endangered species status in the C.I.T.E.S. in 1997. After some search he obtained his first pair in July 1999, and bred them the same summer. His flock has now expanded to over 65 birds of several species, but breeding Pekin Robins remains his main aim. By September 2010 he bred 142 offspring to independence, some in the 5th generation.
Through his discoveries in making suitable habitats and his meticulous attention to detail, Peter is now one of the most successful breeders of Pekin robins. This experience and skill is recognized by many aviculturists and consequently, he has been requested to speak at numerous conferences on his breeding strategies and philosophies. Recognizing his achievements, David Hancock of Hancock House Publishers convinced Peter to write a book. Peter’s book “Pekin Robins and Small Softbills – Management and Breeding” was published and released in the fall of 2007. Book reviews by international authorities in aviculture consider it the most comprehensive handbook on the subject.
To see a preview of the book or to order this valuable resource, go to: www.hancockhouse.com