Rusty is a main character and Consulting Producer of the Travel Channel's new TV series
Hotel Amazon airing Monday's @ 10pm. He has also hosted a TV pilot for Animal Planet. He is in post production with Emmy nominated producer Thomas Lucus. They are producing a film about Rusty's 25 solo expeditions into the Amazon to deliver malaria nets, medicine, and clothing to the children of the jungle where they now call him Tarzan Santa Claus.
Rusty never fails to captivate audiences with his rare gift of immediately connecting with them. His intriguing, and comical adventures paired with a sincere and contagious passion for exploration, empowers people to hit life head on, push limits, leap over boundaries, and always strive for extraordinary goals in everything they do.
During these humanitarian expeditions he has survived the jungle by feeding on electric eels, piranha, grubs, and giant jungle rodents. He contracted subcutaneous larva migrans, (maggots under the skin) that lived in his hand for over a year and could only be cured by a witchdoctor. He helped deliver a baby in a jungle hut by the light of a single candle, and purchased rainforest property which he now keeps as a scientific research preserve for universities. He was also accepted into an Amazon family where he eventually married the niece of a shaman and is the co-owner of the Wild Yarapa Amazon Jungle Lodge.
Rusty began his adventurous life as a child while collecting local snakes. This evolved into a diverse reptile collection containing cobras, vipers, 18 foot pythons, and several American Alligators.
At the age of 18 years old Rusty became a falconer and for over 25 years he has bred, captured, trained, and rehabilitated an extensive number of raptors (Condors, eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures, and owls). He has had an Andean condor for over 20 years, which is the largest bird of prey in the world (ten foot wingspan) and one of only 10 condors privately possessed in the U.S. He has captured Bald Eagles for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research, trained a falcon for Magician David Copperfield, has appeared on the Conan O'Brien show, and free flew a hawk on the David Letterman show 14-stories high over the streets of New York City. He even free flew an eagle in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria for the world renowned Explorers Club. Rusty was one of the youngest people ever inducted into the Explorers Club.
He is the author of a book entitled Twilight of the Wild (Foreword written by Jim Fowler of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom). This book focuses on Rusty'’s adventures while traveling over 3,000 miles through 5 countries in Africa, sleeping in a pup tent, filming lions and elephants, and helping homeless AIDS orphans. The book also features his time in the West Indies while filming an active volcano. Currently he is writing a book about his 15 years of Amazon adventures.
Rusty testified during a federal grand jury pertaining to an Australian animal smuggling ring and he has successfully brainstormed clandestine explosive detection techniques with animals for a post 9/11 anti-terrorism Commander. He has also interviewed the infamous satanic serial killer the Night Stalker (Richard Ramírez) in order to explore the mind of a human predator.
Rusty has consulted for National Geographic Television's HOOKED, the Discovery Channel, and his video of animals on his Amazon preserve are in Reader's Digest "Must See Places on Earth" DVD Series. Last winter he filmed on the island of Kauai for the documentary series Cosmic Journeys. He has also appeared on the Today Show and has presented over 3,500 lectures at educational institutions.
Name: Rusty Johnson
Lives in: New York City, New York
Occupation: Actor, Animal Trainer, Author, Producer, Cinematographer and Voice Artist