Meet the Team

Lesley Small

Founder and Director

Lesley has worked in various animal fields including early working on a farm, an animal technician, and Veterinary nursing. She began her Zoo Keeping career at Notre Dame, a private Zoo in Mulgoa, N.S.W. From there, she moved to Taronga at the Veterinary and Quarantine Centre in 1989 where she eventually became senior Carnivore keeper with a strong focus on Sun Bears. Lesley has visited and/or volunteered at many conservation projects around the world. She has been in contact with a wide and varied selection of people involved in conservation programmes and has been fund raising for many years to support rescued bears in S-E Asia. Lesley is passionate about Sun Bears and after visiting Sumatra for the first time in 2013, discovered that there needs to be a safe centre for displaced Sun Bears there. She is the Founder of the SSBT and since 2017 has been getting a great team of like-minded people in Australia, Indonesia and the UK who all want to help Sun Bears in Sumatra.

Jon Minor

Company Director and Treasurer

Jon has worked in the private sector, public service, research, and not-for-profits for over 30 years. His early passion for the environment and animals resulted in a degree in Psychology and Animal Behavior from the University of California at Davis in the United States, where he trained as a primatologist.

Jon has over 28 years of experience in animal program and facility management of species within zoological settings across the US, Australia and Asia. Jon’s predominant focus has been across carnivore, primate and bird taxa. Jon also has expertise in designing and aligning zoological exhibits with visitor experience and educational and conservation outcomes.

From work and travels throughout Southeast Asia, Jon is excited to take steps to change the circumstances and help Sun Bears in areas where there is no active support.

Matthew Collins

Company Director

Matt joins the SSBT board with a background across legal, where he holds an LLB in Law, and more recently technology, where he has worked for the last 8 years over 3 continents. He has most recently been responsible for developing and leading the Southeast Asia region of a fast-growing, multi-billion Dollar, NYSE-listed SaaS company headquartered out of the US (Forbes 100 SaaS Companies to watch).

He brings with him a skill set and understanding of sustainable international company growth, leadership, revenue generation and marketing, with a deep love and interest for animals and the betterment of the environment.

Matt is committed and tasked with ensuring the SSBT is able to achieve its stated objectives by sustainably growing its donor members, engaging a wider audience, and delivering increased funding moving forwards.

Matt is a born UK citizen, and dual national of Australia, where his (growing) family was born.

Lauren Spence

Company Secretary

Lauren is a Registered Nurse with over 16 years experience in Perioperative Nursing. She has always had a passion for helping others, including participating in a humanitarian mission to Bangladesh and fundraising to improve healthcare to poorer nations.

Through her travels over the world, she has witnessed the poor treatment of animals and the destruction of their habitats, but felt that inability to help directly. Lauren had the opportunity to join a project with the Sumatran Sun Bear Team to Sumatra and saw first-hand the importance of Not-For-Profit animal conservation organisations. She found her way of helping animal conservation directly and joined the Sumatran Sun Bear Team Board shortly after returning from the trip.

Seeing the generosity of others through donations and witnessing how that money is spent to directly benefit the Sun Bears of Sumatra is a privilege. Knowing that the money goes directly to the Sun Bear care, rehabilitation and potential release back into the wild was also something that also drew Lauren to joining the Sumatran Sun Bear Team.

Kimberly Vinette Herrin, MS, DVM, MANZCVS (Zoo Medicine)

Comapany Director, Veterinary Advisor

Kimberly  has been a zoo and wildlife veterinarian for 22 years and worked on the border of Mexico and in Hong Kong prior to joining Taronga Zoo in 2006.

She has a strong passion for conservation medicine and is excited to be helping Sun Bears and other species in Sumatra.

Her additional experience in the field extends to working with chimps in Africa, orangutans in Indonesia, seals in the sub-Antarctic and marine turtle species in multiple countries! Alongside being a clinical veterinarian, her research interests include investigating habitat usage of marine turtles using satellite telemetry and transmission of KoRV within the captive Taronga Zoo collection. She was also deployed during the Black Summer fires to triage wild koala populations. She strongly supports training of zoo and wildlife veterinarians from developing countries, especially women. She participated in the Homeward Bound Antarctic expedition, a global leadership development program for women in STEMM that focuses on global concerns such as climate change and pollution.

Rebecca Roskilley

Director

Rebecca has always been intrigued by animals and started working in the Pet industry in my early 20’s but found her true passion in the Zookeeping world a few years after.

She has been emersed in the Zoo industry for over 8 years and has been part of a team that started the development of a Zoo from the ground up. She has looked after a range of species from Australian natives to exotic carnivores including African painted Dogs, Meerkats, Sun Bear and more. It was caring for the Sun Bear where her passion for conserving them came from.

I have travelled to Borneo, Sumatra, Malaysia and India, trekking through the rainforests, living with the locals, visiting conservation centres and attending Bear conferences including the first ever Sun Bear conference in Malaysia.

Meeting with our founder Lesley in Sumatra she was shown how the rescued bears are housed and realised there is a dire need for a Sanctuary in Sumatra and that something needed to change.

She’s excited to join the board of the Sumatran Sun Bear team and to be a part of its growth and active conservation of Sun Bears.

Sue Tonga

Director

Sue has a Bachelor of Science with 1st class honours in Animal Physiology and has been working as a Primate keeper at Wildlife HQ in Queensland for 6 years. During that time Sue has been privileged to also work with Maly the Sun Bear, who of course she fell in love with pretty quickly.  Maly is the perfect ambassador for her species having wild born parents that were originally rescued from the illegal pet trade many years ago.

Having travelled to Sumatra with Lesley in 2019, Sue visited the forests where Sun Bears naturally occur and learned first hand the threats that face the Bears and the wildlife in Sumatra.  During the time in Sumatra, Sue was able to visit Sun Bears held in government facilities and see the real need for a Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre to be created.

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