Kelly Donithan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s in Conservation Medicine from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. In between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she worked as an Animal Care Specialist for White Oak Conservation in NE Florida. Following grad school, she was the Wildlife Rescue Program Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and focused largely on the big cat crisis in the U.S. During this time, she collaborated closely with wildlife sanctuaries and law enforcement to orchestrate rescues and seek permanent placement for large carnivores owned illegally or in inappropriate conditions. She also supported IFAW’s legislative efforts to lobby for stronger and widespread laws against private ownership and breeding of big cats. She was also in the 5th class of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) and worked on a project to reduce the mortality of painted dogs in Zimbabwe due to snares and road collisions.
For the past two years, Kelly was a bear manager at the Vietnam Bear Rescue Center in Tam Dao National Park north of Hanoi which provides sanctuary to bears rescued from illegal trafficking and bear bile farms. She has recently moved back to the U.S. and is currently an independent consultant for wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations.