BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our skilled team of professionals are the backbone of International Rhino Keeper Association. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of our organization as it continues to develop. Read on to learn more about some of our incredible team members.
Joe Hauser has worked with greater one horned rhino at the Buffalo Zoo along with various other hoofstock species. He has served on the Rhino Assisted Reproduction Enterprise (RARE) for the past four years. Led by Dr.Monica Stoops, Joe and his team were successful at producing two pregnancies with the greater one horned rhino via artificial insemination. Joe is currently the greater one horned rhino studbook keeper. As the IRKA President, he serves on all IRKA committees.
Christine Bobko is a Rhino Keeper at Denver Zoo's Toyota Elephant Passage, where she works with Greater One Horned rhino and black rhinoceros. Christine has over 26 years of experience working with rhinos, and will soon celebrate her 25th anniversary at the Denver Zoo where her passion for rhinos has been allowed to flourish! Christine is a founding Board of Director of the IRKA, and produces our organizations newsletter " The Crash."
Dr. Christopher Tubbs serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Senior Scientist in the Reproductive Sciences group. He is interested in how environmental chemicals affect reproduction of endangered species and his research focuses on developing in vitro methods to measure interactions between environmental chemicals and the hormone receptors that regulate endocrine function. For the past decade, he has used this approach to study the role of dietary phytoestrogens in the poor reproductive success of captive-born southern white rhinos. In addition, he is a co-investigator for San Diego Zoo Global’s Northern White Rhino Initiative.
Stephanie Richmond is a Senior Keeper in the River’s Edge at the Saint Louis Zoo. She has over 13 years of experience caring for Eastern black rhinos. Stephanie organized the Saint Louis Zoo’s first World Rhino Day event, which is now an annual event in its 4th year. Stephanie also serves as the AZA Dwarf Mongoose SSP Coordinator and Studbook Keeper. She has been a member of IRKA since 2007 and was the Election Committee Chair 2010-2014
Jonnie Capiro is a Lead Keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, currently working with six female southern white rhinos at the Rhino Rescue Center. She has also worked with southern white rhinos, eastern black rhinos, and greater one-horned rhinos in a variety of managment strategies. Additionally, she has worked with a variety of large herds of hoofstock in field exhibits. Jonnie completed her Master's Degree at George Mason University focusing her research on the effects of management strategies, specifically translocation and positive reinforcement operant conditioning on greater one-horned rhino glucocorticoid activity and behavior. She is also the southern white rhino studbook keeper. She has contributed to the IRKA's social media presence, fundraising, and is the website administrator.
Robyn is a Zoological Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She has cared for Southern white rhinos for over 14 years, as well as a wide variety of other species across her career. Robyn first got involved with IRKA by attending the 2011 rhino keepers workshop hosted by Fossil Rim. Prior to joining the IRKA board, she served on the communications, conservation & the workshop committees. Robyn has a Masters in Zoology from Miami University and is currently working with IRF on a project through the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) Class 8.
Amber Berndt is a Senior Keeper in the Plains Biome at the Indianapolis Zoo. She has been a keeper for over 14 years caring primarily for Southern White Rhino, Reticulated Giraffe and Addra Gazelle. She joined IRKA in 2007 and is part of the scholarship committee. Indy has been working on assisted reproduction for the last 6 years including artificial insemination techniques with CREW. Amber has been a part of this research from the beginning and is proud of the accomplishments thus far.
Jade is one of the lead keepers at North Carolina Zoo’s Watani Plains working with Southern White Rhinos. As a keeper for 17 years she has worked with both black and white rhinos along with hoofstock of all sizes. She is a member of the training committee, scholarship committee, and has served on the election committee in past years. She has recently taken over the membership chair
Reese is a lead wildlife specialist at White Oak Conservation Foundation where she is fortunate to care for all three species of rhino in human care- Southern white rhinos, Southern black rhinos and greater one horned rhinos. She and her team also manage babirusa along with equid breeding herds and other various hoof stock in bachelor group settings. At White Oak, the rhino team focuses on herd management in large acreage habitats. Reese sends out the rhino news email and has been a member of IRKA for several years. She is a Management co-advisor for the Rhino Research Council and an alumni of Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) Class 7.
Cassy is a Zoological manager at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. She has been working with Eastern black rhinos for the last 10 years, but has worked with a diverse collection of species over her twenty years as a keeper. She helps edit The Crash and the IRKA website.
IRKA Board Advisor
Adam has been with Fossil Rim Wildlife Center since 1989 and has worked with the white rhino herd since that time and with the black rhino herd since they first arrived in 1992. His daily routine still includes some rhino husbandry and management. Adam attended the 1991 International Rhino Conference in San Diego which began his career with rhinos (and introduced him to many of the rhino professionals he still calls friends and colleagues). He also attended the 1999, 2001 (presenter), 2009, 2011 (Fossil Rim hosted, presenter), 2013 (presenter) and 2017 (presenter and round table moderator) Rhino Keeper Workshops. Adam is a co-author of a number of publications about rhinos. He was involved with the writing of the original Rhino Husbandry Manual (RHM) and is a co-editor on the digital version. Adam is a scientific advisor to the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the population manager for Southern Black Rhinos for the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2). Additionally, he is the White Rhino SSP Coordinator and Rhino Taxon Advisory Group Chair for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
IRKA Board Advisor
Susie has been IRF's Executive Director since 2006. She oversees IRF’s administration, fundraising and management of field conservation programs in Africa and Asia. She is a member of the IUCN Conservation Breeding, Penguin, African Rhino, and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and is the Red List Authority for the latter. Follow her @rhinogoddess.
Angie Snowie is one of two primary Greater one horned rhino keepers at the Toronto zoo in Toronto, Canada. Angie started working with marine mammals in 1993 and in 2004 shifted to zoo animals. She started working with greater one horned rhinos in 2012 and they have captivated her heart. Rhinos have ignited a passion within her to work hard to fundraise for all five species of rhinos in the wild. Angie, along with her partner, started a fundraising campaign called "iheartrhinos" to create awareness of the crisis all five species are facing and to sell iheart rhinos merchandise online and at events to raise funds for conservation. As a winner of the AAZK Bowling for Rhinos campaign in 2015 and 2016, she has been fortunate enough to travel to Kenya, Sumatra, and Java to see rhinos in their native habitat. Angie has successfully raised over 85,000 dollars for rhino conservation. Angie has been a member of IRKA since 2013 and feels that belonging to this organization has not only changed the life of the rhinos in her care, but helps give direction and inspiration for a long future in her fight too save rhino species and to be their voice in our zoo settings.