Through collaborative projects, publications, and services, we serve as an active and effective networking organization that bridges science, tribal peoples, conservation, and animal protection in collaboration to serve our planet.
Gay Bradshaw, PhD, PhD
Gay holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and has published, taught, and lectured widely in these fields both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the author of Pulitzer Prize-nominated Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity, published by Yale University Press, an in-depth psychological portrait of elephants in captivity and in the wild. Dr. Bradshaw’s work focuses on trans-species psychology, the theory and methods for the study and care of animal psychological well-being and multi-species cultures. Her research expertise includes the effects of violence on and trauma recovery elephants, grizzly bears, chimpanzees, and parrots, and other species in captivity. [Curriculum vitae]
Board of Directors
Lee Ann McIndoo
I have spent all my life surrounded by nature, trees, lakes, rocks and other-beings. Nature has always been extremely important to me. I have long been aware of what was happening to others on this planet, in factory farms, circuses, zoos, trophy and canned hunting and others cultural practices. The sense of urgency that started those years ago, has stayed with me. Being a voice for those in need of one is, and has been, my goal. The dignity of non-humans is as important as our own.
Education, awareness and engagement in these issues is extremely important for people to feel that they too are moving forward and being part of the solution. I have participated in the International March for Elephants and Rhinos, had a Facebook page for many years called “Support Worldwide Ban on Ivory” and belong to and co-administrate many groups about many kinds of animal issues. I have also flown to Los Angeles for the 30th anniversary conference of PAWS, sponsored four elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for several years, and donated to other sanctuaries. There is always more that can be done.
Joseph Daniel Mitchell, MS
Joseph is a full-blood citizen of the Creek Nation and a member of the Muskogee Indian Community. For the past 26 years, he has worked in environmental sciences and conservation on tribal and federal lands with the tribes, the USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and has worked with more than 200 tribes across the nation.
Joe consults with tribal governments and communities on Indian law and treaties and advocacy for tribes to exercise treaty rights on federal lands, and implement traditional practices. He has also been involved in the evolution of several of the 26 tribal colleges throughout the country and has assisted many with establishing traditional ecological knowledge programs.
Janet Kaylo, MA, CMA, SrDMP, RSMT
Janet holds an MA (with Distinction) in Jungian and Post Jungian Studies from the University of Essex, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, UK. She is a Movement Analyst, Registered Dance/Movement Psychotherapist, and a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist. She is Founder/Director of Laban/Bartenieff and Somatic Studies International, which presents professional certification in Movement Analysis and Bodymind Practice™.
Kiersten Cluster, MA, JD
I am an early childhood special education teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. My students are 3 – 5 years old with moderate to severe disabilities. I have a B.A. in English from U.C. Riverside, a J.D. from U.C.L.A., and my teaching credential and M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from California State University, Northridge.
I absolutely love my job and I feel very fortunate to spend every day with my wonderful students and co-workers. However, the best thing in my life is my family: my husband, Darryl, and our two boys, Benjamin, aged 21, and Noah, aged 18. Benjamin is studying economics at U.C. Berkeley, and Noah is studying political science at U.C. Irvine. They are the pride and joy of my life, along with our two rescue dogs, Marty, a pit bull, and Fiona, a terrier mix.
Robin Bjork, PhD
Robin Bjork is a conservation biologist with over thirty years experience in North and Latin America in avian ecology and conservation. She holds a doctorate in wildlife science and a master’s degree in coastal ecology.
Robin began working with wild psittacines in 1994 when she directed development of the first radio tracking device to withstand the force of macaw bills and used the device to track the movements of Great Green Macaws in Costa Rica. Her dissertation research identified the migration of Mealy Parrots across Guatemalan lowlands, the first detailed documentation of such a pattern in psittacines.
She continues conservation research with wild parrots and macaws and is currently directing a program to reintroduce Scarlet Macaws to El Salvador and protect endangered Yellow-naped Amazon parrots. In addition to her work with parrots she has documented spatial patterns of regional migrant tropical birds with a goal of providing guidance to regional conservation planning.
Vera Muller-Paisner, LCSW
Vera is a psychoanalyst with a master’s degree in social work who has spent the last two decades years studying the chronicity and transmission of trauma. She also received a degree in Organizational Consultation and works with organizations to understand their defenses against anxiety and regression. She served as a research consultant for the International Study Group for Trauma at Yale University, and in 1996 received an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine.
Vera has conducted extensive research and clinical experience working with Holocaust survivors and is the author of Broken Chain: Catholics Uncover the Holocaust’s Hidden Legacy and Discover Their Jewish Roots. Much of her clinical work focuses on helping those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One of the tools that she has found to be effective in managing memories of trauma is a protocol called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). She has adapted the protocol to Bilateral Equine Tapping (BET) for use with horses who display traumatic memory. Riding is a partnership, and trauma can be transmitted between partners.
Jeff Borchers, MS, PhD, LPC
Jeff is a licensed professional counselor with a background in research, teaching, training, policy analysis, and organizational development. Over the past 35 years, he has worked in academia, government, and the private sector on issues of social, ecological, and psychological significance. His interests include the use of ecotherapy to improve psychological well being and to foster a mindfulness approach to caring for animals and the land.
As an employee assistance professional, Jeff provided consultations, group trainings, and coaching, and is certified in mediation and conflict management. In all his work, Jeff draws from his background in research, teaching, training, policy analysis, and organizational development to facilitate lasting change.
Jeff’s education includes a PhD in ecology from Oregon State University, a master’s degree in counseling from Capella University, and a master’s degree from Yale University. He also has taught traditional martial arts for most of his life, holding the rank of nidan in Shotokan karate-dō. Jeff has a private practice where he works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, and provides training and interventions for organizations.
Jessica Bell Rizzolo, BS, MA
Jessica is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at Michigan State University with specializations in Animal Studies, Environmental Science and Policy, and Conservation Criminology. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Northwestern University, where her graduate work focused on the intersection of attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, and traumatology. Jessica’s current research areas include trans-species psychology, discursive representations of wildlife, the sociopolitical dynamics of conservation initiatives, wildlife tourism, and the illegal wildlife trade, with a specific focus on the issues affecting Elephants in both captivity and the wild.
Her academic publications include “There Is No Wild: Conservation and Circus Discourse” (Society & Animals, 2015), “Ideology, Subjectivity and Mind in Animal Models and Infant Research” (in Animals in Human Society: Amazing Creatures who Share our Planet, 2015), “Conservation Criminology, Sociological Theory, and Wildlife Tourism” (in Conservation Criminology: The Nexus of Crime, Risk and Natural Resources, 2016) and encyclopedia articles on Elephants and the ivory trade (in Humans and Animals: A Geography of Coexistence, 2016). She has presented her work at numerous international conferences, including the Australian Animal Studies Group, the International Society of Anthrozoology, the Society for Conservation Biology’s Conservation Asia Conference, and the International Conference on Asian Elephants in Culture and Nature.
Jessica’s current work focuses on mahout cultures and psychological indicators of Elephant trauma and well-being in Thailand. Based on fieldwork conducted in Thailand, she, in collaboration with Dr. Bradshaw, is authoring a policy document on Elephant tourism in Thailand.
Cari Zuckerman, BSN, MS
Cari Zuckerman holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University in Virginia and worked as a nurse on a postpartum unit for four-and-a-half years. After realizing that her true passion was nonhuman animal rights and welfare, she earned her Master of Science in Anthrozoology from Canisius College in New York.
Under the guidance of Dr. Gay Bradshaw, she completed a three-month internship focusing on psychology, traumatology, and PTSD in captive Elephants. For the internship, she travelled to Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand and worked with Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRRC) and TREE Foundation in India. The internship allowed her to gain firsthand experience with captive Asian Elephants and has propelled her to focus her efforts on creating a sanctuary for Elephants currently suffering in zoos and circuses in North America.
- Suparna Ganguly, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, India
- Harry Linden, Santa Barbara Bird Farm, California
- Emmee McCarth, Animal Protection of New Mexico
- Karen Paolillo, Turgwe Hippo Trust, Zimbabwe
- Allan N. Schore, PhD, UCLA
- Barbara Smuts, PhD, Univeristy of Michigan
- Ann Southcombe
- Mary Watkins, PhD, Pacifica Graduate Institute
Nieves Benito Taberné
Nieves received a degree in English at the University Complutense, Madrid. In 1995, she joined the international Intellectual Property Law Firm Del Valle Abogados, where she was in charge of direct and inverse translations of legal documents, judicial decisions, contracts, agreements, technical and forensic expertise reports, web pages, and different kinds of documentation and evidences to be submitted at Courts.
She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Translation and Interpretation at the Universitat Jaume I, Castellón. In addition, Nieves received First Place in the Contest for Young Translators by the University of Alcalá de Henares, and teaches Spanish to immigrants for the organization Cáritas. In addition to other translations for Kerulos correspondence and projects, Nieves translated the great ape bioethics paper authored by T. Capaldo and G.A. Bradshaw, Grandes Simios: Bioética y bienestar, daño psicológico y obligación de cuidado. Both English and Spanish versions have been published in the Animals and Society Policy Series.
Michele Franko brings over thirty years experience in animal care and welfare including humane law enforcement and animal shelters, veterinary assistance, horse breeding, training, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. For the past year and a half, Michele has held the position of elephant caregiver with The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California, where she cares for rescues from zoos and circuses.Her diverse roles as criminal investigator, rescuer, caregiver and advocate working with multiple species have catalyzed Michele’s research and teaching about animal emotions, trauma recovery, and healing. Michele’s greatest honor is an animal at ease in her presence, and her life purpose is to heal traumatized animals and inspire empathy in the indifferent, resulting in action and meaningful co-existence with non-human animals and their societies. She will be focusing her work at The Kerulos Center Being Sanctuary and Caring for the Caregiver programs to enhance and teach restorative approaches to animal healing.
Currently, Lokesh is a graduate with a bachelors degree in microbiology from the Honors College, University of South Florida and an intern at The Kerulos Center. He presented a paper on the psychological role of human-elephant relationships and its influence on elephant well-being at the 2012 International Society of Anthrozoology Conference, Cambridge University, UK. A near lifetime passion for elephants and their well-being has brought him to conduct cross-cultural/cross-species studies with the understanding that human society can benefit from understanding elephant ethics and values. His interest focuses on the effects of elephant-human relationships as they pertain to captive elephant mental and emotional health. Lokesh will be attending the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in August of 2014 to study neurology and cross-species psychiatry.
Tom is a professional dancer who has trained in contemporary dance, somatic movement practices, and Tai Chi. He graduated from Laban in 2003 and continued his professional training at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier. He has taught contemporary dance, yoga, and Tai Chi in Europe and Asia. He own work has been presented at The Place, Roehampton University’s Michaelis Thatre, Greenwich Dance Agency, and the Bagouet Theatre, Montpellier. Tom’s performances and teachings integrate his ongoing studies at Plum Village, the home and retreat of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Tom began internship at The Kerulos Center in 2011. The first two years took him to our international partners, Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary, Ireland, and Animal Aid Unlimited, Udaipur, India, where he volunteered with rescued animals. This year, Tom undertook a Sacred Bones internship and chose to stand with the Gorilla. For the Renewal segment of his journey, he traveled to Mefou, Cameroon where he volunteered for two months at Ape Action Africa.
Kate Nicole Hoffman
Kate Nicole Hoffman is a senior philosophy and music double major at SUNY Potsdam/The Crane School of Music in upstate New York. She is a part of the Presidential Scholars program at her school, which is helping to fund her research project on animal cognition and ethics. For the project, Kate Nicole is writing a thesis which will argue against Descartes’s claim that animals are merely “machines.” She will be looking specifically at symptoms of PTSD that cannot, or are less likely to be explained as a result of mere stimulus reaction.
At SUNY Potsdam Kate Nicole works as an RA, and is also an intern at the president’s office. She is very active in the philosophy department; she is a member of Phi Sigma Tau, the vice-president of Philosophy Forum, and was a teaching assistant for an honors Introduction to Philosophy class. Aside from philosophy, Kate Nicole is a part of the advanced honors program, sits on the board of the Honors Council as a student representative, is very involved in the theater and dance department, and was recently a vocal soloist at Carnegie Hall. Over the summer, she directs children’s shows, and performs at her local theater. Next fall she will be studying abroad in Scotland at the University of Glasgow.
Kate Nicole plans to go to graduate school for applied ethics to pursue a career in research and advocacy. Besides her interest in animal rights, she is also very passionate about human rights, and women’s rights in particular.
I am junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, with a double major in Neuroscience and Feminist Gender Sexuality Studies. Outside of academics, I run the 800, 400, and 400 meter hurdle races for the Wesleyan Track and Field Team. In my spare time I work at the local veterinary clinic and the library, as well as go on hiking trips with the Wesleyan outing club.
This summer I have the amazing opportunity to be an intern with The Kerulos Center. As part of my internship I completed Kerulos intensive courses Trans-species Pscyhology I & II that focus on trans-species psychology, traumatology, and the 10 Principles of Being Sanctuary. For my practicum that applies this coursework to on-the-ground service to animals, I will travel to and volunteer at Kerulos’ partner, Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand. BLES, founded by the wonderful sanctuary director Katherine Connor, has rescued and cares for 17 elephants.
After my stay in Thailand, I will continue on to Sri Lanka to visit with Dr. Deepani Jayantha, a brilliant leading wildlife veterinarian and elephant conservationist specialist with Born Free. Here, I will be given another opportunity to integrate my academic training in neurosciences and psychology with on-the-ground conservation. I will learn about her work and visit several Elephant rescue centers. I am hoping that this experience and visit will lay groundwork for a possible senior thesis project integrating neuropsychology and rehabilitation for the purpose of helping support orphan elephant well-being and reintroduction into their wild communities.
My internship with the Kerulos center is helping to connect me with amazing resources and people in the field of Elephant conservation and Veterinary care. I have always been passionate about nonhuman animals, with plans to go on to become a wildlife veterinarian, but after reading Dr. Bradshaw’s book Elephants on the Edge I found my true calling in the world of elephant conservation and veterinary care. I have learned that veterinary care, trans-species psychology, and conservation are vital to the health of elephants worldwide.