Rick Hudson (President)
Rick Hudson was a Curator in the Fort Worth Zoo's renown Department of Herpetology for twenty years, before moving to the zoo's Conservation & Science Department in 2000 as Conservation Biologist. In 2001, Rick organized an IUCN Asian Turtle Workshop - Developing Conservation Strategies through Captive Management - that led to the formation of the TSA as an IUCN partnership network for sustainable captive management of freshwater turtles and tortoises. Rick served as the co-chair of the TSA from 2001 to 2009 and under his leadership the TSA grew into an independent NGO that has emerged as a global force for turtle conservation. The TSA supports or manages turtle research, conservation and recovery programs in Madagascar, Africa, South America, Belize, and throughout Asia. Rick currently serves as President and Chairman of the Board of the TSA. He is also well known for his work with endangered iguanas, and played a leading role in the organization of the IUCN Iguana Specialist Group and the International Iguana Foundation, for which he serves as Executive Director.
Dwight Lawson holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington and is the Deputy Director at Zoo Atlanta, overseeing the animal and plant collections as well as the zoo's education, research and conservation programs. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Biology at Georgia State University where he regularly teaches. Before joining Zoo Atlanta, Dr. Lawson worked as an Associate Research Scientist for The Wildlife Conservation Society where he directed a community-based wildlife conservation project in southwestern Cameroon, Africa. Dwight helped found the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and served as co-chair of the TSA, President of the TSA Foundation and chair of the TSA's Animal Management Committee. Dwight is currently involved in revamping the TSA's Animal Management process and strategies.
Walter Sedgwick (Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair)
Walter C. Sedgwick has a long-standing interest in conservation and has served on the Boards of a diverse range of conservation NGO's, including the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy - Florida, Bat Conservation International, Island Conservation, the Pacific Forest Trust and the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he is Chair of the Program Committee. Because of his interests in turtles, he helped to found the Turtle Conservation Fund in 2002. Walter has been a driving force behind the TSA's strategic fund-raising efforts for many years, helping to get programs in India and Myanmar off the ground, and most recently championing the effort to bring the pair of Rafetus in China together for breeding.
Scott Davis (Executive Director)
Scott Davis holds a Ph.D. in Population Biology from Washington University. He was a Genetics professor at Texas A&M University and served two years as Chairman. His research program focused on the genetic analyses underlying the recovery programs for everything from Speke's Gazelles to Galapagos tortoises, to the measurement of levels of variation at quantitative trait loci, to the positional cloning and identification of the genes responsible for quantitative variation. In 2000 Scott left the University environment to found Biotech startup companies. He retired in the fall of 2006 and lives with his two sons on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country where he focuses on the captive breeding of giant Asian softshell turtles in the genera Chitra and Pelochelys. In the fall of 2008, Scott left retirement to assume the position of Executive Director of the Turtle Survival Alliance.
Jim Breheny is Executive Vice President and General Director of Wildlife Conservation Society Zoos & Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo. He received his undergraduate degree from Manhattan College where he was also an adjunct in the Biology Department from 1998 through 2005 and a M.Sc. from Fordham University in 1984. Jim has been with the Wildlife Conservation Society at its Bronx Zoo headquarters in New York for 39 years. A former Curatorial Science Fellow and Curator, he was named General Curator in 2004, Director of the Bronx Zoo in 2005 and appointed General Director in 2011. Jim is responsible for the operation and management of the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium.
Jim has served on the AZA Membership Committee, Professional Development Committee and is a member of the Field Conservation Committee. He is a member of the Zoos Advisory Board of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), board member of the Behler Chelonian Center (BCC) and the International Iguana Foundation.
Bill began his 33 year zoo career as a Keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1972 and then moved to the Toledo Zoo in 1975 as the Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians. He became the Zoo's Executive Director in 1981 - a position he held until retiring in late 2005 and now is the Director Emeritus. He has a Masters in Business Administration and has served on the boards of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). His passion is, and always has been, turtles and tortoises and he is excited to be "going back to his roots."
The Fort Worth Zoo’s Executive Director, Michael Fouraker, has been with the Zoo since 1993 and has more than 30 years of animal, exhibitry and zoo management expertise. He has focused his career on building partnerships that support global conservation initiatives. Michael’s field experience includes work in Africa, India, South America, North America and throughout the Caribbean. An advocate of sustainability and active wildlife management, Michael is a founder and board member of the International Elephant Foundation, founding board member of the International Iguana Foundation, Caribbean Wildlife Alliance, Caribbean Wildlife Foundation and board member of the International Rhino Foundation. These organizations have contributed millions of dollars in support of these rare species and their habitat. Michael has served on various committees for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), as a board member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and the scientific advisory board for UNESCO.
Bill Holmstrom started his career with the Department of Herpetology at the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Bronx Zoo in 1976 and has served as the Department Collection Manager since 1988. He was appointed Species Coordinator and Studbook Keeper for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Radiated Tortoise Species Survival Plan (SSP) in 1985, and became Studbook Keeper and Co-coordinator for the Burmese Star Tortoise SSP in 2006. Bill has served as an instructor in a number of WCS and TSA sponsored workshops in SE Asia, and he maintains and breeds a group of pancake tortoises for TSA at his home. Bill retired from WCS in March 2009.
John B. Iverson holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Florida and is Professor of Biology and Director of the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Because of his interests in the natural history, ecology, and evolution of iguanas and turtles, he is currently Deputy Chair (and founding member) of the IUCN/SSC Iguana Specialist Group, and on the Steering Committee (and founding member) of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. He has been on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Turtle Survival Alliance since its inception in 2001. He has maintained long-term field research sites for rock iguanas in the Exumas in the Bahamas, and for turtles at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in western Nebraska. His hobby is restoring a 76 acre woodlot (now in a Conservation Easement) to a mature hardwood forest.
Patricia Koval (Governance Committee Chair)
Pat Koval is a partner of Torys LLP, a business law firm based in Toronto, Ontario and New York, New York. She practices in the area of corporate and commercial law, with primary emphasis on corporate finance, securities regulation and mergers and acquisitions. Among other things, Pat co-founded and is co-chair of the firm's interdisciplinary Climate Change and Emissions Trading Practice Group. She is also a member of the Environmental Finance Advisory Committee and the Carbon Finance Advisory Committee of the Centre for Environment, at the University of Toronto. Pat has had a long history of involvement with, and support for, organizations and public interest groups dedicated to conservation and, in particular, to species preservation. She has been a member of the boards of directors of a number of small Canadian charitable organizations focused primarily on the conservation of African wildlife and endangered reptiles. She has served as a Director of World Wildlife Fund (Canada) for nine years and is currently the Chairman of the Board of WWF.
Lonnie McCaskill has spent a lifetime working with tortoises and crocodilians, starting as a Junior High school volunteer in the Dallas Zoo, moving to the White Oak Conservation Center and currently working as a Zoological Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Lonnie was part of the opening team for Animal Kingdom and was instrumental in the animal transport, husbandry, and training for the Primate and Ituri areas of the park. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the AZA Crocodile Advisory Group and as a member of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group. Lonnie has been involved with the TSA since its inception in 2001 and has served as the annual Conference Chair for every TSA Annual Meeting. He has participated on several TSA missions to Asia to help build and design breeding facilities and triage confiscated group of turtles and tortoises at the Yadandabon Zoo in Myanmar. In addition, Lonnie owns and operates Expedition Cargo, a socially-conscious business that imports cultural art, artifacts, textiles and other distinctive items for the private collector, home decorator and business. Expedition Cargo partners with international conservation non-government organizations (NGOs) to help support indigenous communities, providing economic resources to impoverished areas from the sale of handmade items.
John Mitchell has a long history of philanthropy and is a member of a variety of scientific and environmental organizations. John is a former director of the Pennypack Watershed Association, a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Bird Conservancy and serves as Director of the Beneficia Foundation. In addition, Mr. Mitchell is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, Honorary Curator at the New York Botanical Garden and serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Bat Conservation International.
Russ Mittermeier has been with the TSA since its inception and was instrumental in supporting the group - through Conservation International (CI) - during its formative years. Russ is currently President of CI, a position he has held since 1989; prior to that he was with WWF for eleven years. He is a well known primatologist and herpetologist, specializing in chelonians, specifically South American chelids. He has conducted fieldwork for over 40 years on three continents and in more than 20 countries in mainly tropical locations, notably Brazil, Suriname and Madagascar. Mittermeier's fieldwork has been focused on primates, protected areas, and other conservation issues and he is considered an expert on such topics as biological diversity and its value to humanity, ecosystem conservation, tropical biology and species conservation. He is active in the IUCN (World Conservation Union), currently serving as one of the Vice Presidents. Russ serves on the Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission, is Chair of the Primate Specialist Group (since 1977), and serves on the governing boards of both the Tortoise and Freshwater Specialist Group and the Turtle Conservation Fund. He is the author of some 600 scientific papers and 19 books.
Colin Poole is currently the Director of the Asia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) based out of the Bronx Zoo and works closely with the TSA on turtle conservation programs in Cambodia, Myanmar, China and Indonesia. He has worked in Southeast and East Asia since 1988 and founded WCS's Cambodia Program where he spent seven years. He has published widely on conservation issues in Cambodia and also serves on the board of the Turtle Conservation Fund.
Hugh Quinn holds a PhD in Biology and has spent his career in zoos: as Supervisor of Education at the Fort Worth Zoo, Zoological Curator at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Curator of Herpetology at the Houston Zoo, Director at the Topeka Zoo, and finally as General Curator at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (retired). Hugh currently resides in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and serves on the Board of Directors and Animal Management Committee of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), on the Steering Committee of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG), as Co-Chair of the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), and as Research Associate at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He has been very active in the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), and served as president of that organization.
Dr. Anders G.J. Rhodin, M.D., is Founder and Director of Chelonian Research Foundation (CRF), a private nonprofit organization focused on production, publication, and support of research and conservation efforts for turtles and tortoises. He is Chair of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG) and Treasurer of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG). He is also Co-Chair of the Turtle Conservation Fund, a partnership-based strategizing and funding consortium supporting global turtle conservation efforts. Additionally, he is Editor of Chelonian Conservation and Biology and Chelonian Research Monographs, two peer-reviewed professional scientific journals published by CRF in association with the TFTSG and MTSG. He is also an orthopedic surgeon and maintains an active private medical practice.
Frank Slavens retired in 2001 as Curator of Reptiles from the Woodland Park Zoo (WPS) in Seattle WA where he worked for 30 years. While at the WPS, Frank produced numerous editions of his book Reptiles and Amphibians in Captivity, a series of annually produced inventories of the world's reptiles and amphibians in captive collections. Each volume represented almost 500 collections, both public and private, with contact phone numbers and addresses. Sections on longevity and breeding were invaluable tools for those interested in the captive breeding of reptiles and amphibians. In 1990 he started the Western Pond Turtle Head-start & Recovery program at WPZ in cooperation with the Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife. The program eventually expanded to include the Oregon Zoo. The main turtle site is in the Columbia River Gorge area along the Washington/Oregon border. After retiring from the zoo, Frank and his wife Kate moved down to the Gorge to continue their work with pond turtles. Frank and Kate have generously supported the TSA in recent years.
Andrew Walde (Marketing and Development Committee Chair)
Andrew Walde is a Research Biologist with Walde Research & Environmental Consulting based in Atascadero, California. He obtained a B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and a M.Sc. from McGill University (1998) in Montréal, Québec, Canada. His current dissertation research investigates microhabitat selection, burrow use, activity, and movement patterns in a large population of Desert Tortoises. He is a member of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. He also serves as the co-chair of the Program Committee for the Annual Symposium on Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles and is helping to organize the Conservation of Asian Tortoises & Freshwater Turtle Workshop in Singapore and Batagur Workshop in Malaysia. He is an Editor on the updated Turtles in Trouble, The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles and serves as an Editor for Herpetological Conservation and Biology. While passionate about chelonian ecology and conservation, he is interested in all aspects of natural history, having worked throughout North America on projects involving restoration ecology, avian research and impact studies; as well as, numerous surveys in entomology, ornithology, and herpetology.
Dr. Robert Wiese serves San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG) as the chief life sciences officer. In this role he is responsible for a variety of administrative, operational and budgetary activities involving management, welfare and sustainability of the Society's entire animal and plant collections. Bob joined the San Diego Zoo Global in 2006, after serving at the Fort Worth Zoological Society as director of animal collections. He also served as assistant director of conservation and science for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
He received his bachelor's degree in biology at Point Loma College in San Diego. After graduating magna cum laude he went on to receive his master's degree in zoology from Colorado State University. He continued at Colorado State University receiving his doctorate in zoology in 1990.
Well versed in conservation and animal care projects, Bob has worked with a variety of animal species, helping develop the AZA's Species Survival Plan for numerous species including the giant panda, as well as extensive field work studying bird species in Southern California and bullfrog populations in the Western United States, the topic of his doctoral dissertation. He also has diverse and extensive work on breeding strategies to maintain genetic diversity in zoo populations of animals and the recovery of endangered and threatened species.
Bob is a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Sigma Xi- The Scientific Research Society and the Society for Conservation Biology. He has authored or co-authored dozens of books, articles and papers and has held training courses and made presentations throughout the world to professional and academic organizations.
F. William (Bill) Zeigler is President of Zeigler & Zeigler, Inc. a consulting firm for zoos, aquariums, and wildlife organizations on fundraising, exhibit design and master planning. Bill began his zoological career at Crandon Park Zoo in Miami, Florida going on to becoming the General Curator and Curator of Reptiles for the Miami Metrozoo. During his tenure at Miami Metrozoo he received numerous awards including the AZA's prestigious Bean Award for his crocodilian breeding program, which resulted in four first breeding records for crocodilians in North America. Upon leaving Miami Metrozoo, Bill became Vice President of Animal Science for Ogden Entertainment of New York, where he was instrumental in developing American Wildlife Experience, a series of facilities exhibiting North American wildlife. Although he is no longer in the zoological profession, Bill still lecturers for the AZA's Crocodilian Biology and Captive Management course on exhibit design and husbandry. He is a member of IUCN/SSC Crocodilian Specialist Group, Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, past Development Coordinator for the Gharial Conservation Alliance and served on the TSA Steering Committee for five years where he was instrumental in leading their financial growth.