Dr. David Jones is a veterinarian and zoologist by training and is Director Emeritus of the North Carolina Zoo, having run it for 22 years. He was previously CEO of the Zoological Society of London and has spent a nearly 50-year career in the wildlife and zoo management field, working in more than 50 countries – mainly Africa and the Middle East. He is the past board chair of Environmental Defence Fund North Carolina, and past chair of the equine welfare charity, Brooke USA.
David has been on the councils of both World Wildlife Fund (WWF) U.S. and U.K. and was a former chairman of Fauna and Flora International, the world’s oldest conservation organisation. David is currently Chairman of Central Park N.C., the principal non-governmental economic development group for the rural counties of central North Carolina. He has a special interest in the need to make environmental concerns relevant to people’s everyday lives and to show the close connection between our environment and economy.
Dave became the first professional Executive Director of the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria PAAZAB (Now PAAZA – Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria) in 2002, holding the position for 10 years. Dave is a founder member of PAAZAB and has been involved with the organization ever since, holding several voluntary ranks of office from Treasurer to Vice-Chairman. He has twice been awarded the Chairman’s Award for outstanding and meritorious service to the Association and the PAAZAB Award for exceptional service to the community. Dave was also the first recipient of the Animal Keeper’s Association of Africa (AKAA) Conservation Award and in 2007 was appointed lifetime regent of the Association.
Dave served on the WAZA Council for 5 years. He was Chairman of the WAZA Committee for Population Management (CPM) from 2007 to 2012 and also sat on the WAZA Conservation, and Ethics and Welfare Committees during this time. He has served on the Board of the International Species Information System – now Species360; is a contributing author to the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy; is a contributing author to the WAZA Zoo Animal Welfare Strategy; is presently on the Editorial Board of the International Zoo Yearbook and remains a member of the Strategic Committee of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC). Dave is also an associate of zoo consultancy group Bernard Harrison and Friends and through this association has worked on zoo projects in Singapore, China, Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Gabon, Azerbaijan, Qatar, the UAE, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Georgina has more than 15 years of experience working for animal welfare, research and conservation organisations, including Bristol University Research, the Natural History Museum, London, World Animal Protection and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). Her experience focuses on bringing together a range of stakeholders and encouraging the integration of global partners and peer organisations with both peripheral and tangible interests in animal welfare.
She is a member of the Zoological Society of London’s animal welfare committee, is a Species Survival Network (SSN) Animals in Captivity Working Group member and an International Veterinary Students’ Association Animal Welfare Committee Patron. Georgina is an experienced, strategic project director and campaigner with extensive experience in national and international animal welfare issues. Her expertise includes managing key critical relationships for campaigns and working with organisations that have international dependencies, encouraging cross-functional working practices through the incorporation of all senior stakeholders.
Georgina’s experience also includes fundraising development. She is PRINCE2 trained and has overseen major statutory grand bids. She has developed and run international workshops in animal welfare training as well as in-house campaign strategy and community development training to smaller NGOs. Georgina was previously the Executive Director of Wild Welfare.
Simon started his career as an animal keeper, went on to specialise in carnivores and was most recently the animal collection manager for a well-known UK wildlife park. He brings more than 20 years of experience working for zoos, safari parks, wildlife sanctuaries and wild animal rehabilitation projects, both in the UK and overseas.
Simon’s passion for animal welfare goes hand in hand with his commitment to conserving species and habitats in the wild and as well as working for conservation organisations he has run his own charity, raising funds to support various wildlife projects in Africa.
Simon is a member of the IUCN, British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), sitting on several species’ committees and groups and chairs the Canid and Hyaenid Taxon Advisory Group.
Sophie Khan holds a NCTJ Diploma in journalism and is a registered veterinary nurse, putting her in the unique position of being able to apply a variety of communications skills to the fields of veterinary science and animal welfare with experience and enthusiasm.
Prior to joining Wild Welfare, Sophie worked in a busy communications and media relations role for a campaigning animal welfare charity. She has experience writing for magazines, newspapers and websites covering subjects including veterinary science, animals, nature, the environment and many more.
Sophie has more than 20 years experience working within the UK veterinary industry, gained prior to moving into the communications field, and she offers a wealth of experience in veterinary medicine and nursing, animal husbandry and animal welfare.
Victoria brings both her skills as a fundraiser and her passion for wildlife and community development to the role. She has more than 20 years of experience as a fundraiser for both international development and wildlife conservation organisations.
Prior to joining Wild Welfare, Victoria worked for the Mara Elephant Project in Kenya and a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, where she supported their conservation work and the sanctuary itself.
Victoria has also held fundraising positions with international development organisations including The Karen Hilltribes Trust which supports the marginalised Karen people in northern Thailand, Health Poverty Action and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). She has also spent time as a VSO volunteer herself, working on a peace-building programme in the Philippines as well as managing an international youth exchange there.
Sarah has primarily spent her decade-long career in animal management, having worked in several zoos and animal sanctuaries as a keeper. She has experience working within the ethical ecotourism sector and is passionate in relating messages of responsible tourism.
With a passion for animal enrichment, Sarah first got involved with Wild Welfare when she helped to create a portfolio of images and ideas that we use for our work within zoos around the world. She was also a volunteer on an Animals Asia/Wild Welfare collaboration in Hanoi Zoo in Vietnam, where she worked making animal care and welfare improvements.
Sarah sits on the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK) council, as a sub-editor and content creator for their publication Ratel, as well as writing for Conservation Careers, encouraging and inspiring young conservationists of the future.
Heather is the Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach Manager at the University of Edinburgh’s Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, based at the UK’s Royal (Dick) School of Vet Studies (R(D)SVS). Using her veterinary skills and overseas experience (developed through her previous work with Animals Asia), Heather also works with organisations in India and China in providing animal welfare education and practical skills training to vets and veterinary undergraduates as well as to those responsible for animal care.
Heather is actively involved in both post-graduate and undergraduate teaching at the R(D)SVS and is carrying out PhD research focussed on understanding the current knowledge and attitudes to animal behaviour and welfare among zoo staff across Europe and China.
Tamsin Cracknell worked with horses for 10 years, competing at advanced level eventing and dressage representing Great Britain. She also specialised in teaching both disciplines and in producing young horses.
A total career change saw Tamsin move into insurance where she currently works in underwriting within the Lloyd’s market, for a substantial syndicate underwriting global property portfolios.
Karen has worked in zoos since 1991, starting as the Education Manager at Taronga Conservation Society Australia until 2001, as Director for Discovery and Learning at Zoos Victoria from 2001-2005 and since 2006, as Chief Executive of Wellington Zoo Trust. Karen is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for business & animal welfare. She is an Oceania member of WAZA Council and Chair of the WAZA Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee. Karen is also a past president of ZAA Australasia.
Karen’s awards include: Wellingtonian of the Year – Environment Category (2010), HER Business Network Wellington Award winner – Business Leadership and Sustainability (2009), HER Business Network National Award winner– Business Leadership (2010), Finalist Westpac/Fairfax Media NZ Women of Influence Awards – Social Enterprise category (2014) and Finalist Westpac/Fairfax Media NZ Women of Influence Awards – Board and Management category (2015).
Bernard has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Behaviour from the University of Manchester, UK and a Master’s in Zoo Design from the National University of Singapore. He joined the Singapore Zoo in 1973 where he remained for 30 years leaving as CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore. He set up Bernard Harrison and Friends LTD, a dedicated zoo design company in 2002, which he runs today. Amongst his awards Bernard was inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Hall of Fame in 2019 for his work in the zoo industry and received the American Creativity Association’s Champion of Creativity Award 2008 for his work on the Night Safari, Singapore.
Dr Mark Penning is the Vice President: Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, overseeing animal care and environmental initiatives at the company’s parks and resorts around the world. Leveraging the meaningful field conservation initiatives supported by the company, his team shares inspirational stories and experiences about nature with park guests. His role includes oversight of the use of animals in film and television, from an animal welfare and story-telling perspective.
Mark is a veterinarian by training, with a special interest in wildlife. He has worked as a private veterinarian, and has owned and operated a wildlife immobilization and relocation business. He previously served as CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) based in Durban, South Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to marine research and conservation and has served as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
Patricia Simmons became Director and CEO of the North Carolina Zoo in 2015. Pat is currently an internationally elected member of the Council for the World Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (WAZA), and serves as the Chair of the WAZA Membership and Ethics Committee. She also serves as a Commissioner on the Accreditation Commission of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Previous to these appointments Pat served two terms on the Board of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and rotated through the executive suite to become Chairwoman in 2012. Previous to her position at the NC Zoo, Simmons was President and CEO of the Akron Zoological Park in Akron Ohio.
A few of her honors include: Women’s History Project Woman of the Year for Imagination (1993); a Humanitarian Award for her efforts in the minority community (2003); the first non-profit executive recipient of the Chairman’s award from the Akron Visitor and Convention Bureau; became a Founding Fellow of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, an international group of 100 CEO’s selected to tackle global challenges for non-profit organizations (2013).
Keiko Yamazaki has extensive experience in the animal welfare sector within Japan. She received her B.A. from the Division of Humanities, College of Liberal Arts of International Christian University and is founder of the Animal Literacy Research Institute. Amongst other memberships, she is a committee member of the Subcommittee of Animal Welfare, Central Environment Council, Ministry of the Environment.
Keiko is also a special lecturer of International Pet World College and special advisor of the Japan Animal Welfare Society. Keiko brings a significant amount of expertise and experience of working on pertinent animal welfare issues within the pet, farming and wildlife sectors in Japan.
Kris retired in February 2020 as the Executive Director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). For over 40 years, Kris played a key role in the growth and modernisation of the AZA, including its programs of accreditation, professional development, animal management, and ethics and bylaws. She helped shape the complex laws and regulations that impact zoos and aquariums in the USA. Kris represented AZA before the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, Congress, Federal agencies, and state and local governments.
Kris is a long-serving Board member of Species 360 and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In addition she has provided counsel and presented to the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Mexican Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the South Asia Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation, among others.
Kris has received the Zoological Society of London’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Zoo Community; AZA’s highest recognition, the Marlin R. Perkins Award for Professional Excellence; and WAZA’s Heini Hediger Award – its highest professional recognition.
Kris is presently the CEO of OAI Inc., a consulting firm founded by her husband in 2003, which specialises in fisheries, oceans and marine wildlife issues. Kris has her bachelor degree from the University of Northern Colorado and her law degree from George Mason University.
Dr Julia Gräfin Maltzan is a zoo veterinarian who, among other achievements, is a specialist in carrying out courses on immobilization techniques, including dart gun and blowpipe.
Julia is a director of the Foundation of the ‘Clinic for Zoo Animals and Wildlife”'(www.wildlifevets.de) and of the ‘Academy for the Welfare of Zoo Animals and Wildlife e.V.’ (www.azws.de). Julia has partnered with Wild Welfare on a number of our global projects.
Ayako Nagakura is a veterinarian working in Japan. For the past 13 years she has worked as a municipal officer at an animal care centre and within a city zoo. Ayako was inspired by an animal welfare seminar she attended at the RSPCA offices in London, coordinated by the Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) UK, more than 11 years ago. As a veterinarian, Ayako is keenly aware of the necessity, importance and incorporation of animal welfare concepts when working with captive wild animals.
Ayako is committed to learning more about animal welfare and to contributing to the correct understanding and reflection of animal welfare within Japan. She plans to take advantage of the accumulated knowledge of animal welfare experts and use this knowledge in the day to day care of animals, so it can lead to better improvements for animals and their carers.
Dr Jake Veasey is a zoologist specialising in animal welfare science and conservation biology. Jake has carried out research topics including ‘What do zoo animals miss (if anything) about habitats they have never experienced?’ and solving behavioural-ecological enigmas first identified by Darwin. Widely published on the welfare of wild animals in zoos, Jake has nearly two decades of experience as a zoo director in some of Europe and North America’s largest zoos. He regularly advises government organisations and NGOs across the world, including as a ministerially-appointed advisor to the UK Government on zoo animal welfare.
Jake’s research interests include how insights from evolutionary biology can inform welfare prioritisation and welfare policy. His findings challenge the influence of traditional animal welfare metrics on animal welfare management and he is particularly well-known for his work on large herbivore and carnivore welfare and conservation, having worked in the wild and captivity with bears, elephant, giraffe, rhino and antelope.
Dr Samantha Ward is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and sits on Defra’s Zoo Executive Committee as a zoo animal welfare specialist. Sam worked as a zoo keeper of various hoofstock, primate and macropod species in a variety of locations and then went on to complete an MSc and a PhD in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Sam therefore has both a practical and academic background which she uses to her strengths.
Sam’s research focusses on zoo animal behaviour & welfare and recent projects have investigated the impacts of human-animal interactions and human-animal relationships in zoos, and investigating impacts of zoo animal husbandry and management techniques to improve captive welfare.
After living in Australia and Denmark, Ameila now studies Biomedical Science at the University of Warwick. After her bachelors, she will complete a Masters in Conservation and International Wildlife Trade so she can begin a career that has been a lifelong dream. Amelia enjoys playing piano and tennis, and spending as much time as possible with dogs.
Lorraine has worked in the zoological industry for 13 years in several zoos and wildlife parks both in the UK and overseas. After working for over a decade in animal management, she now specialises in primates and in particular great apes, during which time she has consulted on a project to bring the first Gorillas into New Zealand.
She has worked in sanctuaries and conservation organisations in South East Asia, Africa and Central America. She also has a keen interest in conservation and animal welfare and most recently spent time as the welfare coordinator at an Elephant park in Thailand.
Lorraine also sits on the BIAZA Field Conservation Committee and chairs an internal Behavioural Management Committee at a UK zoo.