Monday, July 25, 2011


Many of you have probably met a few of our interns,
whether on tours or on visits with your adopted cat or bear.
However, you may not have met our keepers!
The IEAS cats and bears have three care takers.
Meet Christi, Trish, and Nissa...

Christi Gilbreth is the Curator and Assistant Animal Behaviorist
at IEAS. Before coming to IEAS, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Wildlife Ecology and Management. After graduating, she worked at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation center where she had previously completed a three month internship. Her education and experience at WRR helped her obtain her internship at IEAS, where, upon completion of her internship, she was asked to stay on as a keeper. Since then, she has earned her current titles.
During her time at IEAS, 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 everywhere. As Assistant Animal Behaviorist, Christi has worked alongside Louis Dorfman to help raise two cheetah cubs, five white tiger cubs, two baby bobcats, and six black bear cubs. She has learned a great deal in the past size years and continues to learn something new every day!

Trish Lang is the Lead Keeper at IEAS. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2004 with a BS in Animal Bioscience and a minor in Animal Science. While in school, she worked at the Pennsylvania State Deer Research Center, where she gained experience working with white-tailed deer. She also volunteered and interned at the Centre Wildlife Care. Here, she cared for orphaned and injured wildlife for the purpose of releasing them back into the wild. Trish came to IEAS as an intern in December 2004, and
shortly after completing her internship, was asked to work as a full time keeper. Working here has taught her so much about the care and management of exotic animals, as well as all of the aspects involved in running a Sanctuary. She now teaches interns about the proper care of these amazing animals. She also instructs our Grant and Proposal Writing Course in which she teaches interns about certain fundraising techniques used by nonprofit organizations. Each new day provides a new experience and opportunity to learn. Trish has discovered that surviving the animal world requires lots of hard work and dedication and with this, the rewards can be endless!

Nissa Marione is the newest Keeper at the Sanctuary and
also works as the IEAS Education Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Maine in 2010 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Psychology. While in school, Nissa completed an Animal Care 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 after four long Maine winters, she headed to Texas for the IEAS Animal Care Internship. After her internship, Nissa worked as the Education Coordinator for three months, giving tours, doing community outreach, fundraising, and more. Eventually, she was asked to take on the role of keeper. Everyday, Christi, Trish, and the IEAS animals teach her more and more about what it takes to properly care for the exotic animals who have a home at the Sanctuary and she is excited to learn as much as she can from them!

Questions for our keepers?!
Feel free to post them as comments,
on our Facebook wall,
or e-mail them to!

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