Meet Our Staff

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JONATHAN KRAFT

Founder, President, Executive Director

Jonathan Kraft, an animal behaviorist, established Keepers of the Wild as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal sanctuary in 1995. The nature park is currently located on 175 acres in Valentine, Arizona on historic Route 66.

 

Jonathan has worked with local, state, national, and international law enforcement and animal welfare agencies to assist with rescues, rehabilitation, and providing a life-long home to wild and exotic animals.

 

Jonathan’s high standards of animal care have earned numerous commendations and awards from organizations including Nevada Wildlife Federation, the S.P.C.A, the Humane Society, and Arizona’s Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Associations.

 

Jonathan has starred in movies and has been featured in a number of local, national, and international educational film projects, documentaries, news broadcasts, articles, and magazines. Highly regarded for his expertise with animals, Jonathan has served as an expert witness in court proceedings against animal abusers, worked as an independent consultant to other sanctuaries, and is a highly sought-after presenter for special speaking engagements. 

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LARA KRAFT

Vice President, PR & Social Media Director, Photographer

Lara, an Arizona native, is a life-long nature enthusiast and animal advocate whose love of wildlife inspired her to pursue photography from an early age.

 

Lara enjoyed a lengthy career in surgical coordination and technology followed by three years of educational program development and grant management before joining Keepers of the Wild in 2017.

 

Her role at Keepers evolved by first working in the gift shop as a part-time employee, where she spent lunch breaks walking the park falling in love with the animals, then became a full-time Keeper in animal care, went on to become the park photographer, and then in 2019 was promoted to Public Relations & Social Media Director, as well as Vice President.

DR. ERIKA ANGONE

Chief Veterinarian

After making homes in California, Washington, and even Germany, Dr. Angone settled into the Kingman community in 2002 upon graduation from Washington State University-College of Veterinary Medicine. She began working at Kingman Animal Hospital at that time and in 2007, she partnered up with good friend and associate Ruby Duey and together bought KAH.

Interested in small animals, exotics, and emergency medicine, as well as soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, Dr. Angone has been an invaluable asset and partner to Keepers of the Wild for the past twenty years. She serves as KOTW’s Chief Veterinarian, in charge of our on-site animal clinic designed specifically for both small and large animals. Her dedication and expertise have saved many of our animals’ lives and has enriched the others with her knowledge and willingness to jump into action at any time.

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MATTHEW SUMNER

Park Manager

Prior to his time with Keepers, Matthew spent six years serving in the social work and healthcare fields, including work as a caregiver.

In early 2017, he started out part-time on weekends as an Animal Caretaker for Keepers of the Wild. Moved by seeing the needs of the elderly animals and witnessing the long-term health complications related to declawing procedures in big cats, it didn’t take long before the welfare of the animals became a passion for Matthew and he decided to dedicate his time and career to them by joining Keepers full-time.

Matthew continued to excel in his care and compassion for the animals and became an Animal Care Supervisor in late 2017. He became certified in immobilization, began working closely with veterinarians, and was an integral teammate in multiple animal rescues.

Having displayed both commitment and skills, Matthew was promoted to Park Manager in November of 2019.

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APRIL IBARRA

Animal Care Supervisor

April began working with Keepers of the Wild as a volunteer Animal Caretaker in February 2017 and joined the staff as a full-time employee by the end of March.

After about a year of hard work and dedication to learning the ins and outs of animal care, April began working with the big cats and became Animal Care Supervisor. Developing a deeper love and understanding for the animals in her care, April became inspired to pursue her bachelor’s degree in environmental science, with a focus on wildlife conservation.

April’s favorite part of working for Keepers is the wide variety of both animals and people she has the opportunity to work with- there’s never a dull moment!

TIFFANY HOLLON

Gift Shop Manager

Tiffany was born and raised in Arizona and discovered a few years ago that Keepers of the Wild was located just down the road from her home.  The discovery prompted her to apply so she could become a member of the Keepers team, and in 2019 was hired as the Gift Shop manager. 

 

Tiffany enjoys spending early mornings and lunch breaks visiting and building bonds with the different animals we care for.

 

With a passion for the fair and ethical treatment of animals, Tiffany's ultimate goal is to earn her degree in zoology and use her knowledge to continue to advocate for animal welfare.

© 2020 Keepers of the Wild, Inc. All rights reserved.

Keepers of the Wild is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. | Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.