Advisory Board

Ellen S. Dierenfeld, PhD, LLC
Comparative Animal Nutrition Consulting
Sustainable Ag Initiatives

Works with nutrition programs at multiple zoos and private collections globally, starting her formal comparative nutrition career heading the Nutrition Center at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Founding member of AZA’s Nutrition Advisory Group, and serves as a nutrition advisor to several SSPs and TAGs, as well as Secretary of the Comparative Nutrition Society.

Dianne Hakof
Manager Animal Heath Department, Senior Hand-Rearing Coordinator
Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide SA, Australia

Worked for Zoos SA for 22 years, in all areas of the zoo including mammals, birds and reptile departments. First full time vet nurse employed at Adelaide Zoo.
In 2003  became Head Veterinary Nurse and in 2010 became Manager of the Animal Health Centre and Senior Hand Rearing Coordinator across both Adelaide and Monarto Zoo. High interest in hand rearing and maintaining natural behaviours and instincts in all species.

Educational workshops held for private practice vet nurses on emergency care of injured and ill birds and reptiles.  Presenter at National Zoo Nurses Conferences and attended  2014 Inaugural AZVT Focus Group: Art and Science of Hand-Rearing workshop (USA).

Gail Hedberg, RVT
Safari West

Registered Veterinary Technician with work experience and specialized training in the veterinary care and husbandry of captive aquatic, wildlife and zoo species.
Neonatal Care Specialist, Researcher and Consultant: 38 years of experience in hand-rearing avian and mammals in captive wildlife and zoo settings. Retired from San Francisco Zoo in 2013, Program Chair- 2014 Inaugural AZVT Focus Group: Art and Science of Hand-Rearing workshop and past Vice President Bear Care Group 2007-2013. Current member of AZA and AZA’s Nutrition Advisory Group, AZVT, current advisor Bear Care Group.

Katie L. Murtough
Department of Nutrition Science
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
National Zoological Park

Employment history includes zoo keeper, education specialist, and most recently as a researcher in the Department of Nutrition Science at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute – National Zoological Park (SCBI-NZP). Co-author for research papers, posters, and professional presentations on a variety of mammalian milk studies utilizing the SCBI-NZP Milk Repository. Current research emphasis in the nutritional compositions of various exotic felid maternal milks and developing species-appropriate hand-rearing formulas.

Marcie Oliva, RVT
White Oak Wildlife Conservation

As an experienced veterinary laboratory technician, Marcie has spent 30 years working full-time in zoological medicine including research and training.  Special interest  in hand-rearing of many species but especially hoofstock. For many years at White Oak she was nursery manager and continues to serve as the primary consultant. Mountain goats, white rhino, gerenuk, giraffe, and bongo are only a few of the hoofstock species she has hand-reared. As an active member of AZVT since 1984, she has held many positions within the organization and currently serves as the executive director.

Louise Peat
Avian Rearing Resource

Worked in several UK collections since 1985, initially as an animal keeper, but more recently as a Registrar. EAZA studbook keeper for red-crested turaco. Main experience is with turacos, pigeons and pheasants, but has a diverse interest in all things feathered.

Dawn Strasser
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Head Nursery Keeper

More than 30 years of zoo animal hand-rearing experience. Created neonatal protocols for a variety of species based on their specific husbandry requirements. Served as advisor to the AZA Felid Taxonomic Group and Bonobo Species Survival Plan. Volunteer experience for Cheetah Conservation Fund, Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad and Nairobi Animal Orphanage in Kenya. Publications include:
Strasser D. 2005. Successful strategies for hand-rearing underdeveloped Okapi (Okapia johnstoni): a case study at Cincinnati Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 39(1):225-229 and contributing author, Strasser D. 2002. Great Apes. In: Gage LJ, editor. Hand Rearing Wild and Domestic Mammals. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing. p 125-131.

Steve H. Taylor
Zoo Director Emeritus and Senior Consultant with Schultz and Williams
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Director for 24 years with previous positions as Director of the Sacramento Zoo, Children’s Zoo Manager for the San Francisco Zoological Society, and an Animal Keeper and Associate Curator at the Los Angeles Zoo.  Board Member of the Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) from 1987 – 1993. Past president of AZA in 1992/93. Active member in the World’s Zoo and Aquarium Association (WAZA). Co-editor of AAZPA Infant Diet Care Notebook.

Kim Thompson DVM, MPVM, DACVPM
Staff Veterinarian, Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek, MI

Completed a residency in zoo and wildlife medicine, management, and pathology at Michigan State University. Background includes working as a keeper involved in the hand-rearing of many species and board certification in preventive veterinary medicine. Research focuses on neonatology topics including; improving the success of hand-rearing neonates, colostrum

Kai Williams                                                                                                                         Executive Director                                                                                                                    International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

She has managed the organization since February 2010, providing training and resources on wildlife rehabilitation globally. She has a Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.



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