Providing a Safe and Caring Environment for Exotic Animals

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Meet the Staff

Jonathan Larson

Executive Director

Jonathan has served as the Executive Director of the Sanctuary since June 2016. He holds a Master’s degree in Zoo Conservation Biology from Plymouth University in England where he studied seasonal influences on Macaroni Penguin behavior and breeding success.  Jonathan also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Journalism & Communications from Utah State University.

 

He started his animal career as an animal behavior intern at Willow Park Zoo.  Following the internship, he was hired on as a staff member where he remained until he finished his undergraduate studies.  While working on his Master’s, Jonathan volunteered at an aquarium before returning to Willow Park Zoo in 2015 as the Curator.

Jonathan hopes that he will be able to fill the shoes left by his predecessors and that he will have a lasting, positive impact on the sanctuary, its staff and interns, and most importantly, in the lives of our animal residents.

Louis Dorfman

Animal Behaviorist

http://louisdorfman.com louisdorfman@mac.com

Louis has spent his life working with wild predators and other wild animals, including large exotic cats and bears. He utilizes a method of working with these beings through a program he has developed called Emotional Enrichment, which has positive reinforcement at its core, and it fundamentally gets the animal to trust and respect him to the extent it modifies its behavior in order to have Louis' presence giving it security, trust, respect, consideration, and comfort. He spends a great deal of time with our 11 wild black bears, interacting with them as a good friend and companion, playing games with them, taking walks with them, scratching their bellies, letting them hold his hand in their paw while they nap, and being a trusted and loving friend.
 
He interacts and conducts Emotional Enrichment Programs with at least twenty-five grown lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, and black bears at least three days a week at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, where he has been the Animal Behaviorist for at least 16 years as of 2012. 
 
He has done many television and radio shows as a representative of the wildlife community, speaking as an expert on the personalities, emotions, and characteristics of wild animals. He has lived with a Canadian timber wolf and three generations of river otters, worked with primates, and a large number of other species.
  

Dr. Greg Moore

Veterinarian

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.


Trish Lang

Lead Keeper

education@bigcat.org

Trish returns to IEAS with 8 years of animal care experience. She is stepping into the role of Curator and leading the Animal Care Program. Along with the rest of the Animal Care Staff, Trish is responsible for managing the day to day operations and care of our many exotic animals that call IEAS home. 


Maggie Kloza

Keeper

education@bigcat.org

Maggie is a local from Arlington, Texas. She graduated in May 2015 from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma with a BS in Organismic Biology and a minor in Psychology while also playing college soccer. She started out as an intern in December 2015 and after her 6-month internship, she was asked to be a full-time animal keeper here at IEAS. Maggie jokes saying she was always meant to be a keeper since she was also a goalkeeper in soccer and says now she’s “just playing keeper on a different field.” She hopes that this is the stepping stone to help her achieve her career goals, which are one day to travel the world and help with conservation and the study of endangered species. She eventually plans on pursuing her Master’s in the next couple years in Zoology or Wildlife Conservation. Maggie loves IEAS and all the amazing residents here, she learns something new every day about the facility and the animals.

 

Michelle Biddle

Keeper

education@bigcat.org

Michelle is a University of Arkansas graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has always been interested in animal care since she was an animal caretaker at Dawson Middle School. From there, she has had several jobs and volunteer positions working with many different species from dogs and cats to now lions and tigers. She was accepted into the intern program at IEAS in March 2015. After 6 months, she was asked to stay on as the apprentice keeper. In April 2016 she spent the next 3 ½ months traveling throughout Europe, expanding her knowledge of the world and learning about different zoo and animal practices. In August 2016 she was hired on as a full-time keeper at IEAS. She learned a vast amount throughout her apprenticeship program and is very excited to see what else she can learn as a keeper.

 

George Talbot

Volunteer Coordinator

george@bigcat.org

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

Maintenance Supervisor

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.

Jeremy Vargo

Office Manager/Asst. to Maintenance Supervisor

Jeremy originally came to IEAS with the goal of helping the staff and facility in any way he could. His very first non-tour related visit to the facility was on his birthday as a volunteer. That day left quite the impression and he was glad he took a risk to move to the area from PA in hopes of helping a facility such as this. As luck would have it, Jeremy was in the right place at the right time and would later become contract labor for a construction project and then shortly afterwards take up a more permanent position. 

Now, Jeremy’s days are always changing and never boring. Some days he may be working on a habitat while others might entail going to pick up donated goods, giving a tour, or solving IT issues. With so much to learn and do, he only hopes that his contributions are equal compared to as much as he is continually learning in return.