The ABES Team consists of diverse individuals associated with The Kerulos Center as well as Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles.

Kiersten Cluster, MA, JD

Board Member

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.


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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.

Cari Zuckerman, BSN, MS

Elephant Sanctuary Coordinator

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.


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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.

Jessica Bell Rizzolo, BS, MA

Director of the Asian Elephant Program

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.


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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.

Lokesh Coomar, BS

Research Associate

Lokesh attends the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, focusing on neurology and cross-species psychiatry. He is a graduate with a bachelors degree in microbiology from the Honors College, University of South Florida and an intern at The Kerulos Center.


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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.

Michele Franko

Director of Elephant Care

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.


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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.

Lee Ann McIndoo

Board President

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.


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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.


Having spent 37 years of my working life supporting humans with intellectual and physical challenges, it is wonderful to see that The Ten Principles of  Being Sanctuary applies to everyone from all walks and flights and swims of life. Everyone, human and non-human, are susceptible to extreme trauma through life’s experiences.

Laurent Levy

Technology Coordinator

Laurent Levy holds an MS in Anthrozoology from Canisius College, as well as an MA from Gratz College in Philadelphia, in addition to Computer Science and Piano Performance undergraduate degrees.


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He has worked in technology and project management for 30 years but recently completed an internship at the Animals and Society Institute and is now eager to devote his time and energy to animal rights issues. He is honored to be a founding member of ABES.


Gay Bradshaw, PhD, PhD

Executive Director

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.


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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]

ABES Advisory Board