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Thank you

A special thanks to the following contributors that made this curriculum possible

Etotepe Sogbohossou.jpg
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Etotepe Sogbohossou, PhD

Dr. Sogbohossou got her Agricultural engineer degree in 2000 at the University of Abomey-Calavi (National University of Benin). Since then she has acted as research assistant at the Laboratory of Applied Ecology of the same University. She has been an Assistant in Project PLAMENET, a project on African Medicinal Plants for two years. Since February 2005, she has coordinated a project on the conservation of threatened medicinal plants by the creation of local botanical gardens in Northern Benin. She has led some small research projects on human-carnivore conflicts in Benin and wild dog conservation and participated in several studies on wildlife census of biodiversity assessment in her own country. She is one of the founding members of the Network on Lion Conservation in West and Central Africa and in 2006, she completed an MSc degree on phylogeny, morphology and ecology of lions populations (Panthera leo) in West Africa. Since January 2007, Ms Sogbohossou has conducted a PhD thesis with CML on "Analysis of Social Structure, Behaviour, Morphology and Phylogenetics of Lion (Panthera leo) populations and Human-lion conflicts for improved conservation in Pendjari and W Biosphere Reserves, North Benin".

Etotepe Sogbohossou, PhD
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David Lindenmayer, PhD

David Lindenmayer is a Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology in the Fenner School of Environment and Society. He has published 500 scientific articles and 20 books in the fields of forest management, biodiversity conservation, landscape change and habitat fragmentation, woodland ecology and plantation design. He has won several awards for his research including the Eureka Prize for Environmental Research, the Whitely Award (3 times), the Inaugural DaimlerChrysler Prize, The Australian Natural History Medallion, and the Bulletin Award for Australia’s most innovative environmental thinker. He was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2008. His work includes the discovery of the differences between northern and southern populations of the brushtail possum, where he worked with geneticist Dr. Jean Dubach to determine that the two groups were different enough to be split into two species.

David Lindenmayer, PhD
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Jen Langan, DVM and Gail Brandt

Jennifer Langan, DVM is one of the veterinarian’s at Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo. Dr. Langan’s interests include preserving endangered species and educating the public about diverse zoological taxa. She is very interested in emerging and zoonotic diseases in wildlife and how they can impact public health. In addition, she is also particularly interested in infectious diseases, as well as anesthesia in zoological species. Dr. Langan has been to South America several times in an effort to assess the health of wild Humboldt penguins.

Gail Brandt, another member of the team, is a zookeeper at Brookfield Zoo and also the Humboldt penguin studbook manager for zoos in North America. Gail also has been to South America as part of this research and has monitored the guano harvest to ensure the protection of the nesting areas for the penguins.

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Jen Langan, DVM and Gail Brandt
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Randy Wells, PhD

Dr. Wells directs the activities of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), the world’s longest-running study of a dolphin population. He began studying bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, as a high school volunteer at Mote Marine Laboratory in 1970. He received a B.A. in Zoology from the University of South Florida in 1975, a Master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1978, and a PhD in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1986. He was awarded a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Biology from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1987. He has worked with the Chicago Zoological Society since 1989, where he is currently a Senior Conservation Scientist, and in this capacity also manages Mote Marine Laboratory’s Dolphin Research Program. He is a Professor of Ocean Sciences (adjunct) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he serves as major advisor for MS and PhD students. He also holds an adjunct Professor position with the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and an associated faculty position with the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Randy Wells, PhD
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Michael Briggs, DVM, & Beth Ament, CVT

Dr. Michael Briggs is the co-founder of African Predator Conservation Research Organization (APCRO), as well as the Principal Investigator for several of the conservation projects. His zoo and wildlife career began in 1984 after his gradation from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After school he spent 20 years in the zoo world as both a staff and associate veterinarian at major U.S. zoos. During this tenure he obtained his Master's degree in Veterinary medicine with an emphasis on parasitology and theriogenology. Since the beginning of his career, he has worked in the field in Africa including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. He had field experience with game capture as well as a myriad of research projects, many of which have focused on carnivores like the lions in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Beth Ament is the co-founder and Executive Administrator for APCRO. After working in the zoo animal field since 1988 in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, Beth obtained her Certified Veterinary Technician certificate and is currently a licensed vet tech. Unlike most CVT's she has worked on lions about as much as she has dogs and cats from her small animal experience. She has assisted Dr. Briggs for the last eight years with various conservation projects ranging from work with pinnipeds to the African carnivore work. Her experience in the zoo community started by providing animal behavior modification to various zoo species. She has taken a strong role in field research because she feels she can "make the greatest impact where the animals truly need the most help."

Michael Briggs, DVM, & Beth Ament, CVT
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Jean Dubach, PhD

For nearly 20 years, Dr. Dubach has overseen the operation of the genetics laboratory that conducts genetic service work for zoos throughout North America and research projects on captive and wild populations from Australia, Africa, and South America. The laboratory supports a wide range of genetic technologies from chromosome analysis to DNA fingerprinting, sequencing and genotyping. Dr. Dubach received an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in nursing; holds two Masters degrees, from the University of Colorado in population biology and from Northern Colorado University in applied statistics; and received a doctorate in population genetics/ biochemistry from New Mexico State University. Dr. Dubach is a member of the Research Subcommittee of the Conservation Medicine Center of Chicago. She has been a very active participant in the youth volunteer program that has allowed countless students to aid in this important research and exposes them to the real world scientific process. For her work, she has received a service award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums as well as the 2009 Distinguished Informal Science Educator of the Year by the National Science Teachers Association.

Jean Dubach, PhD
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Jason Crean, MS Bio, EdD

Jason Crean, MS Bio, EdD is a degreed biologist, who recently completed his doctorate, and an avid aviculturist, specializing in the propagation of green aracaris and white-backed mousebirds, President of The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland, and 1st Vice-President and Education Committee Chair for the American Federation of Aviculture.  Crean is an active speaker to avicultural groups across the country and acts as consultant to zoos and other institutions, including the Chicago Academy of Sciences Nature Museum and Wildlife Genetics lab at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.  He also runs a live animal education program that does free interactive programs for a host of different audiences as he believes education is the most important factor in keeping aviculture thriving.  

Crean is a biology instructor at the high school and university level. He is also a curriculum designer and instructor in the Education Department at the Chicago Zoological Society where he teaches others about many different species, especially birds, and continues to share this work within AFA’s educational programs. Crean has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching by President Obama in 2009, the 2010 High School Science Teacher of the Year by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as awards from the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Illinois Science Teachers Association, among others. He has authored several curricula, including the award-winning “Zoo Genetics” curriculum (  He was also recently awarded the “Teacher of Distinction” award by the Golden Apple Foundation.   He serves as President-elect for the Illinois Science Teachers Association, Vice-President for the Illinois Association of Biology Teachers, and sits on the Board for the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching and the National Science Advisory Panel on the national College Board.

Jason Crean, MS Bio, EdD
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Kathy Van Hoeck, Biology Instructor

Kathy Van Hoeck has been a science educator since 1985. She has taught in a host of different programs including vocational education, college level sciences, and at York Community High School in Elmhurst, Illinois since 1995. She holds an undergraduate degree in Medical Technology and a Master’s in Biology and has developed curriculum for many innovative courses including Advanced Placement Biology, Genetics/Biotechnology/Bioethics, and Medical Careers. She has aided in research in the Wildlife Genetics Laboratory under Dr. Dubach and has helped turn the data from the lab into unique classroom experiences for her students. She has always been driven in creating innovative, real world activities for her students so that they can fully understand the nature of science.

Kathy Van Hoeck, Biology Instructor
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Lise Watson, Collections Manager,

John G. Shedd Aquarium

Watson is a studbook manager and Species Survival Plan coordinator for zebra sharks for all zoos and aquaria that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Watson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and has specific expertise in breeding several species of sharks and rays.  She conducts genetic and developmental research for zebra sharks, and she has published work on the captive propagation and rearing of zebra sharks.

Lise Watson, Collections Manager, John G. Shedd Aquarium
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Lynne Villers, Former Curator,

Indianapolis Zoo

Villers has over 30 years experience working in zoos. She specializes in prosimians, particularly lemurs, as well as species management and oversees animal collections including a collection of the most highly endangered and almost extinct animals. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Butler University and has published work on the discoveries she has made through managing lemurs over the years and her experience as the Chair of the Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group.

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Lynne Villers, Former Curator, Indianapolis Zoo
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Tina Vega, Zookeeper,

Brookfield Zoo

Upon earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Tina pursued her career goal by applying to Brookfield Zoo where she started as an intern in 2006 at The Living Coast. After her internship she landed a seasonal keeper position that was split between the Butterflies exhibit and the Children’s Zoo. As her career continued to blossom she held Seasonal and Keeper Aide positions at Zoo Nutrition Services, Living Coast, Fragile Kingdom and the Pachyderm House. This wide base of work experience and knowledge served her well and she is currently a Senior Keeper for the Carnivore Department which includes The Fragile Rainforest, The Fragile Desert, Big Cats, and Great Bear Wilderness.

Tina Vega, Zookeeper, Brookfield Zoo
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Anna Pilipuf, Illustrator and Fine Artist

Anna Pilipuf is an illustrator and fine artist. She is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Certificate in studio art. Some of the art provided in our activities was created by Anna as an arts enthusiast.

Anna Pilipuf, Illustrator and Fine Artist
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Lisa Kolek, Illustrator and Graphic Designer

Lisa Kolek is an illustrator and graphic designer. A graduate of the American Academy of Art in Chicago, she also studied scientific and botanical illustration at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. Her work is published in magazines and scientific publications. She has also exhibited drawings in groups shows in Chicago.

Lisa Kolek, Illustrator and Graphic Designer
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