Kelly Donithan received her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona before moving to Florida to work as an Animal Care Specialist at White Oak Conservation Center. In 2012, she received her Master’s of Science in Conservation Medicine from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She worked briefly as policy analyst with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) before becoming the organization’s Wildlife Rescue Program Officer based at their headquarters on Cape Cod, MA. While with IFAW, Kelly targeted her efforts on the big cat crisis in the U.S., collaborating with wildlife sanctuaries, law enforcement, and other NGO’s to orchestrate rescues of big cats held illegally or in inappropriate conditions around the country. She also worked on a variety of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and release projects around the globe and served three years on the Board of Directors for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). She is an alumna of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) program where she co-founded the Painted Dog Protection Initiative, aiming to reduce snare and road-related mortality of painted dogs in Zimbabwe. In 2015, Kelly moved to Vietnam to take on the role of bear manager at Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Center in Tam Dao National Park. Kelly is now back in the U.S. and an independent consultant for various wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations.
While gaining her roots in conservation in the deserts of Arizona, Kelly fell in love with reptiles and amphibians from an early age. As an undergrad, she co-founded and led the student chapter of the Tucson Herpetological Society and participated in related biodiversity research in both AZ and Ecuador during her undergraduate years. While her professional path has drifted from a herpetology focus, her respect and admiration for the cold blooded continue to this day! To learn more about Kelly’s wildlife conservation efforts, connect with her on Linked In.