RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - General Manager of the Richmond Metro Zoo, Justin Andelin, who’s also known as the “Zoo Ninja,” advanced to the city finals in this season of TV series “American Ninja Warrior.”
Justin’s father Jim Andelin opened the Richmond Metro Zoo to the public in 1995. Since then, Justin and his father have overseen more than 2,000 animals from around the world at the zoo.
The Richmond native and Metro Richmond Zoo employee trains where he grew up, living at the zoo.
If you look at any of the primate enclosures early in the morning before the animals wake up, there’s a good chance you’ll see Justin channeling his inner Tarzan climbing and swinging through the ropes.
It’s for this reason Justin earned himself a unique nickname.
“I’m the ‘Zoo Ninja,'” Justin said enthusiastically. “Learning from these primates has gotten me to want to compete in ‘American Ninja Warrior.’”
He regularly works out on the Great Ape Exhibits, the zoo’s zipline and Adventure Park and all around the zoo to prepare for the 11th season of “American Ninja Warrior.”
The monkeys and apes have also influenced his ninja skills.
Justin says he takes pointers from the strength and grace of the orangutans in an attempt to mimic their movements.
“They just move so perfect, kind of like how we walk, we walk so perfect we don’t even think about it, that’s how they climb,” said Justin. “I’ve tried to kind of learn those techniques, learning when to move and when to transition and once you get that down you move gracefully like them.”
Justin said he loves the family business, caring for animals and promoting conservation efforts.
He appeared Monday, July 1, in the “American Ninja Warrior” qualifying episode that was recorded in Baltimore.
The city finals will air Aug. 12 on NBC12.
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