The Team

Lori Marino


Dr. Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, formerly on the faculty of Emory University. Lori is internationally known for her work on the evolution of the brain and intelligence in dolphins and … Read More

Charles Vinick

Executive Director

A member of the Whale Sanctuary Project Board of Directors since mid-2016, Charles brings a unique blend of leadership and experience to his role as Executive Director. With a solid background in business that includes extensive experience … Read More

David Phillips

Board Member

David Phillips is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization Earth Island Institute, headquartered in Berkeley, California, which helps grow environmental leaders through the sponsorship of projects for the … Read More

Naomi Rose

Board Member

Naomi Rose is the marine mammal scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, DC. She works on several campaigns and coalitions addressing problems associated with cetacean live capture, trade and captivity, both in the U.S. and … Read More

Carl Safina

Board Member

Carl Safina is best known for lyrical non-fiction writing. His work explores how we are changing the natural world and what the changes mean for human and non-human beings. Carl sees that the durability of human dignity and survival of the … Read More

Liv Baker

Liv Baker, Ph.D., is the animal welfare research fellow at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on improving conservation outcomes and the well-being of wild … Read More

Don Baur

Legal Counsel

Donald C. Baur is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Perkins Coie. He previously served as General Counsel of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and as an attorney advisor in the Office of the Solicitor for the U.S. Department of … Read More

Giovanni Bearzi

Giovanni Bearzi, Pew Marine Conservation Fellow, Ph.D., has been conducting dolphin research since 1986. He founded and directed for a decade a dolphin research and conservation program in Croatia, which was awarded the Henry Ford European … Read More

Mica Day

Social Media Coordinator

Mica Day is a passionate advocate for animal rights, with a background in the charity sector, specifically in community and online fundraising. She runs a personal blog, covering cruelty-free and veganism, and her use of social media has … Read More

Michelle Duncan

Site Selection GIS Associate

Michelle Duncan is the Founder of Duncan GIS, which provides geographic information services to help people organize, analyze and visualize their data. An example of these is the story map tour she created to time-stamp and geolocate the … Read More

Jeffrey Foster

Animal Transfer & Rehab Coordinator

Jeff Foster has spent his whole life around wild and exotic animals. He grew up as the son of a prominent zoo veterinarian, giving him experience caring for and managing animals from an early age. Jeff has worked in the marine mammal … Read More

Rob Laidlaw

Canadian Advisor

Rob Laidlaw has been the Director of Zoocheck since its inception in 1984, and has also worked for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the Toronto Humane Society and other animal protection organizations. His focus is on … Read More

Michael Mountain

Outreach Coordinator

Michael Mountain is the former President and one of the founders of Best Friends Animal Society and its sanctuary in Southern Utah for abused and abandoned animals. Best Friends was one of the pioneers of the no-kill movement for companion … Read More

Michael Parks

Site Search Manager

Captain Michael Parks served as chief of marine operations for the rehabilitation of the orca Keiko, and is leading the search for suitable sites for a seaside sanctuary for the Whale Sanctuary Project. He began in 1998 as a field engineer … Read More

Maddalena Bearzi

Maddalena Bearzi is President and Co-Founder of the Ocean Conservation Society, and has been studying the ecology of marine mammals with a strong conservation bias since 1990. Her research work on dolphins, whales and pinnipeds off Southern … Read More

Samantha Berg

Samantha Berg spent more than three years as a marine mammal trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, where she worked with killer whales and other dolphins, along with sea lions and otters. She is one of the founders of the advocacy organization Voice … Read More

Gia Brazil

Gia Brazil Vacin is the Founder and President of Brazil Vacin Consulting, with 15 years of professional experience in environmental science and management, including 13 years in consulting. Her expertise is in project management, … Read More

David B. Casselman

David B. Casselman is a recognized trial specialist, successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants for decades. In addition, throughout his 38-year legal career, he has been a passionate defender of animals. Among his many animal … Read More

Shilpi Chhotray

Shilpi Chhotray is an ocean advocate and social entrepreneur with 10 years of experience related to marine science and policy. Her areas of focus include plastic waste prevention, marine protected area legislation, and ocean … Read More

Jean-Michel Cousteau

Jean-Michel Cousteau is a dedicated advocate for the protection of the water planet. As a voice for the ocean, he inspires and educates audiences worldwide about the need to act responsibly and preserve the fragile underwater ecosystems … Read More

Chuck Davis

Marine/underwater cinematographer and photographer. From the freezing climes of Antarctica and Greenland to the heat and humidity of the Amazon, Chuck Davis has worked for nearly 40 years as a specialist in marine and underwater photography … Read More

Catherine Doyle

Catherine Doyle is the director of science, research and advocacy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which cares for a wide range of captive wild and exotic animals at three sanctuaries located in Northern California. The … Read More

Chris Draper

Chris Draper is a zoologist and chartered biologist, working for the Born Free Foundation on their Zoo Check program, investigating the welfare of wild animals in captivity, and taking a lead on zoo animal welfare issues, elephant welfare … Read More

Sara Dubois

Sara Dubois is Chief Scientific Officer for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), where she directs province-wide welfare science operations, education and advocacy projects. She has worked on … Read More

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several … Read More

Toni Frohoff

Toni Frohoff is a wildlife behavioral biologist specializing in marine mammals for more than 30 years.  She is currently the staff scientist for cetaceans and elephants for In Defense of Animals, and the Executive Founder and Executive … Read More

Pierre Gallego

Pierre Gallego is a veterinarian specializing in marine mammal medicine. He has been working in the field of marine biology for 13 years, and is President of Odyssea, a marine mammal research and conservation organization in Luxembourg. He … Read More

Joan Gonzalvo

Joan Gonzalvo, born in Barcelona, is a Catalan biologist whose main research interest is the conservation of the marine environment and, more specifically, the study and conservation of cetaceans. He holds a Ph.D. in Biodiversity from the … Read More

David Hancocks

David Hancocks is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has specialized in planning and exhibit design for zoos, botanic gardens, nature centers and natural history museums, and has published extensively on the design … Read More

Terry Hardie

Terry Hardie is the chief field researcher for the New Zealand-based Orca Research Trust, which works to protect orca and their habitat through conservation, education and scientific research. He is also a co-founder of the Free Morgan … Read More

John Hargrove

John Hargrove had a 14-year animal training career where he trained and swam with orcas at SeaWorld of California and SeaWorld of Texas, where he was promoted to the highest ranking Senior Trainer at Shamu Stadium. He was also a Supervisor … Read More

Steve Huxter

Steve Huxter lives in the west coast city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Canada, located in the midst of the Salish Sea; home to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Steve spent eight years as head of the animal care and … Read More

Michael Jasny

Michael Jasny is a Senior Policy Analyst and Director of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. An expert in the law and policy of ocean noise pollution, he has worked domestically and internationally through high-profile litigation, … Read More

John Jett

John Jett is a visiting research professor at Stetson University. His background is in the environmental sciences, with undergraduate research and post-graduate degrees focused on waterway management issues. From 1992 to 1996, he was … Read More

Ron Kagan

Ron Kagan is the CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society and an advocate for compassionate conservation, animal welfare, and humane education. He has worked at and consulted for numerous zoos and aquaria over the past three decades, and … Read More

Catherine Kinsman

Catherine Kinsman is co-Founder of the Whale Stewardship Project. As Project Director and Solitary Sociable Beluga Whale Specialist, she co-initiated the world’s first long-term study of human-whale interactive behavior for this … Read More

Michael Kleeman

Michael Kleeman is a technology industry strategist who has been involved in the technology industry in engineering, planning, management and advisory roles. Formerly a vice president at the Boston Consulting Group, director at Arthur D. … Read More

Curt Lahti

Captain Curt Lahti has spent his life on and around the sea on tugboats, sailboats and private yachts, as well as with ship building companies. He maintains a keen interest in oceanography and has more than 20 years’ experience leading … Read More

Katy Laveck

Katy Laveck is a marine mammal field researcher working with several organizations, but most extensively with Cascadia Research Collective in Washington State, and Kelp Marine Research in the Azores. She has specific interest in Risso’s … Read More

Sandro Mazzariol

Sandro Mazzariol is a veterinary pathologist involved in coordinating the National Stranding Network in Italy. Since 2010, he has coordinated the definition of national guidelines for the intervention and rehabilitation of cetaceans … Read More

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara is the Chairman and Director of the Tethys Research Institute, and a marine conservation ecologist who has worked for almost 40 years to advance knowledge of the natural history, ecology, behaviour and … Read More

Elizabeth Oriel

Elizabeth Oriel is a conservation biologist and social scientist, and founder of the Cohabitation Institute, whose mission is to study, describe and educate people about models of positive cohabitation with nonhuman animals. She works at … Read More

Michael Partica

Michael Partica worked as part of the Back to the Blue project, which resulted in the successful release of two dolphins, Tom and Misha, back to the wild, off the coast of Turkey, after years in captivity. He has experience with sea pens … Read More

Heather Rally

Dr. Heather Rally is a wildlife veterinarian with specific training in marine mammal medicine. She has worked with a number of marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation clinics along the California coast, including The Marine Mammal Center … Read More

Carol Ray

Carol Ray worked for three years training cetaceans at SeaWorld of Florida. She is a co-sponsor of proposed California state bill AB 2140 which seeks to end captive orca performances and captive breeding, and has been active in support of a … Read More

Diane Richards

Freelance writer Diane Richards is the former Director of Development at Marine Applied Research & Exploration (MARE), an ocean exploration and conservation non-profit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 20 … Read More

Adam M. Roberts

Adam M. Roberts is CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, and serves on the board of directors of the Species Survival Network, with its 82 member organization, where he chairs their press and financial committees, the bear … Read More

Matthew Spiegl

Matthew Spiegl is an attorney, environmental blogger and ocean advocate living on California’s Central Coast. His work focuses on the health of the ocean, the impact of plastic pollution and marine debris on sea life, and the need for … Read More

Paul Spong

Paul Spong is co-director of OrcaLab, a land based whale research station on Hanson Island in British Columbia, and president of the non-profit Pacific Orca Society. He acquired a Ph.D. in physiological psychology from U.C.L.A. in 1966, … Read More

Ed Stewart

Ed Stewart is the President and Co-Founder with Pat Derby of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). In 1985, Ed began initial construction of the original PAWS sanctuary for captive wildlife in Galt, California, and later he oversaw … Read More