Richard has served as Executive Director of the Sanctuary since January 3, 1997. He holds a degree in Animal Science with a Vocational Agriculture Teaching Certificate. He has worked with and assisted numerous veterinarians in day-to-day operations, as well as being proficient in artificial insemination and embryo transplanting.
He also has broad experience in animal nutrition for exotic wildlife, having worked at several wildlife sanctuaries with various types of animals in residence. His experience encompasses raising exotic animals, caring for adult animals, working with wildlife, and extensive knowledge of exotic sanctuary rules and regulations from the USDA, USDI, and EPA. He has worked with several wildlife agencies in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
When Richard first arrived at the Sanctuary, he had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish. He started out improving the habitats for all the animals, making them safer for both the staff and the animals. He improved their quality of life in just a few months by giving them a better diet, and offering environmental enrichment.
His top goal was to become part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). After hard work and determination, he reached that goal in 2001 when IEAS became the first and only Sanctuary to be certified by the AZA! After reaching that goal, Richard kept moving to try and achieve yet another goal, starting an Intern Program. The first group of interns arrived at IEAS in 2002. Since it's beginning, the Intern Program has become one of the leading programs in the animal world.
Richard continues to make IEAS the best haven for all exotic animals. Not only that, but he continues to teach staff, interns and volunteers what it takes to run a facility as great as IEAS. He has been a great asset to the Sanctuary and the animal residents. He has turned this Sanctuary around, making it an example for other sanctuaries to follow.
The Sanctuary is thankful to have Dr. Greg Moore as the animals' veterinarian. Dr. Moore graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1981 from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. He has been Chief of avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery at Metroplex Veterinary (Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital) from 1983 to 1990. Presently, he is the owner of Southlake Animal Hospital, P.C., a small animal and exotic animal practice in Southlake, Texas. He is state and federally licensed. Dr. Moore is also a Master Falconer and Raptor Propagator breeding Peregrine falcons and Harris hawks. He is a State and Federal permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator.
Curator/Asst. Animal Behaviorist
Christi graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Wildlife Ecology and Management. After graduating, she worked at the rehab center where she previously completed a three month internship. She worked at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendalia, TX for a year rehabilitating native wildlife then releasing them back into the wild. She also cared for the resident animals which included bears, jaguars, cougars, and a variety of primates. Her education and experience gained at WRR helped her obtain an internship at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. Christi began the three month internship in December 2003. She was asked to stay on as a keeper. Since that time, she has earned the titles Curator and Assistant Animal Behaviorist.
During her time here, Christi has helped care for the resident felines and bears while instructing interns on how to care for these animals and about the daily operations. She also co-founded SWAVA, an organization designed to share information with other sanctuary workers and volunteers to help improve the lives of captive animals in sanctuaries. Christi has also worked along side our Animal Behaviorist, Louis Dorfman. She has helped raise two cheetah cubs, five white tiger cubs, two baby bobcats, a cougar cub and eight black bear cubs. While working with Louis, she has learned a lot on feline behavior and about each animal's personality and their emotions through the Emotional Enrichment Program. She has learned a great deal sicne being at the Sanctuary and continues to learn something new every day.
Lead Keeper/Education Coordinator
Nissa graduated from the University of Maine with a BS in Biology and a minor in Psychology. While in school, Nissa completed an internship at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina. The big cats at this facility helped her realize that these were the species she someday hoped to work with, and so immediately after graduating, Nissa came to IEAS for the Animal Care Internship. During her first nine months as an animal care intern, Nissa also spent time working in the education areas of IEAS and eventually earned the title of Assistant Keeper. At this point, Nissa was asked to stay on as the Sanctuary's full-time Education Coordinator and Keeper. She now works daily to gain support for the incredible animals of IEAS and to provide the public with the opportunity to be a part of preserving these magnificent species. She also continues to work in the animals care areas of IEAS and hopes to gain even more experience and knowledge at this truly special facility.
I took a tour at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary with my daughters and soon thereafter they both suggested that I begin volunteering. "Just think how much fun it would be to have to mow someone else's grass as well as ours, " Monica said. And the youngest one, Gwennie, figured that I'd extend the battery life on the television remote control if I used it less on weekends. That was over six years ago, and I almost feel guilty admitting that volunteering at IEAS has consistently given me so much more than anything I've ever contributed to the facility.
It's a magical atmosphere with a very unique population of cats and humans alike. It made Monday morning's fun; everyone else in the office was complaining about limited parking when they went to the mall for the better part of their weekend, and I was happy to just discreetly scratch my fire ant bites. Witnessing the commitment and dedication of the IEAS staff and the other volunteers consistently energizes me more than three cups of even the most exotic and frothy latte-double-pump coffee taken three-times-daily.
Volunteering at IEAS isn't the best medicine for everyone, but we all encourage any of you to give it a try. And Gwennie was right; volunteering at the Sanctuary has made saving the life of the batteries in my television remote control a very, very rewarding experience.
Roy Marley began working at the Sanctuary back in January 2005 as our part time Assistant Maintenance man. Plumbing was his expertise when he arrived, and Roy was able to help out with many important tasks such as building the intern house and installing pumps for tiger pools. Since then, Roy has spent hours upon hours working with Richard and learning the art of welding. On any given day you may find Roy doing a wide variety of jobs: constructing a new habitat for the animals or repairing an existing habitat, mowing grass and other landscaping work, building a new trailer, repairing one of the vehicles, or fixing something that breaks in the intern house.
Not a day goes by that we don't hear over the radio, "Roy, can you come over here?". Whether it's a flat tire, a stubborn weed-eater, a leaky pipe, or a broken pump...you name it, Roy can fix it. There aren't too many people in this world who have the patience and demeanor to consistently help and help and help again. Roy is one of those people. Not only does he fix anything that breaks, but he also takes the time to teach both the interns and keepers how to do it themselves. We are thankful to Roy for all of his hard work and dedication.
Administrative Assistant / Office Manager
I came to IEAS three years ago expecting a simple bookkeeping position and have had the opportunity to do so much more. In addition to managing the books and assisting the Director, I am the receptionist, gift shop manager, sales and customer service representative. I have always worked with the public either in customer service or nursing, but have found life here at IEAS to be the most rewarding because the people that come to the Sanctuary are happy and excited to be here which means I never have to deal with the angry or unhappy. I have also learned a little about graphic art and have had a chance to express my creativity by designing new logos, a letterhead, brochures, business cards and our new signs.
Overall, working here is something I look forward to everyday. Where else can you go to work, take a break and walk through the park and be greeted by so many incredible animals! It is hard some days to stay inside at my desk, so I give tours as often as I can so I can convey our mission to the public and help foster new advocates to the Sanctuary and it's animals.
I am proud to be a part of this exceptional organization!