Rusty Johnson is the main character, consulting producer, and originator of The Travel Channel's HOTEL AMAZON. He has conducted over 30 expeditions into the Amazon to film, guide, and deliver malaria nets, medicine, and toys to the children of the jungle where they have nicknamed him Tarzan Santa Claus.
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 a married 3rd generation shaman.
Rusty has consulted for National Geographic Television's HOOKED, the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, DATELINE, and his footage of wildlife on his Amazon preserve is in Reader's Digest "Must See Places on Earth" DVD Series. He has also filmed on the island of Kauai for the documentary series Cosmic Journeys.
Rusty has appeared with his wildlife on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Today Show, and free flew a hawk on The Late Show with David Letterman 14-stories high over 49th street in New York City. Rusty has even free flew an African eagle in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria. He has presented over 3,000 lectures at educational institutions including Princeton University and The Explorers Club where he was one of the youngest people ever inducted into the prestigious club.
For over 30 years he has bred, captured, trained, handled, or rehabilitated an extensive number of wildlife such as cobras, vipers, giant pythons, alligators, condors, eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures, owls, tigers, and elephants. 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 and trained a falcon for Magician David Copperfield.
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.
He also works healing people with medicines he has been trained to use for years by shamans such as Ayahuasca, Kambo (which it poison from a tree frog - info in above link.), and venom from the Bushmaster Viper and the Fer de lance viper. Two of the top ten most venomous snakes in the world of which he captures and keeps himself. He also uses both species of venom to envenomate himself weekly to raise his body's immunity and boost physical health, as well help him become immune to potential viper bites while in the jungle.
He is the author of a book entitled Twilight of the Wild (Foreword written by Jim Fowler of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom who he worked alongside for over 10 years). This book focuses on Rusty's adventures traveling over 3,000 miles through 5 countries in Africa while sleeping in a K-Mart 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 completing a book and documentary about his 18 years of adventures in the Amazon.
Baby Rusty delivered
Rusty's shaman wife
A 9-foot Bushmaster Viper Rusty captured and keeps for it's venom
Josias Tello is highly respected in the Amazon earning the nicknamed “Jungle Jesus” due to his seemly endless knowledge of the jungle. He has guided over 1,000 tourists, universities, and researchers over the last 25 years and has spearheaded many Amazon humanitarian, ecological, and production projects with Rusty over the past 17 years.
In addition to costaring and guiding for Travel Channel's Hotel Amazon, he has also guided for productions such as I Shouldn't be Alive (Animal Planet), Science of Survival (Discovery Channel), and Escape from the Amazon (Discovery Channel).
He has also conducted over 15 years of avian research for The Audubon Society and has identified over 1,100 species of Amazon birds.