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. Wanting to combine Veterinary Nursing with Zoo Keeping, she started at Taronga at the Veterinary and Quarantine Centre in 1989. After working with varied taxa in several departments she is currently a senior Carnivore keeper with a strong focus on Sun Bears and has worked with Sun Bears for over 20 years. Lesley has visited and/or volunteered at many conservation projects or centres in Alaska, South Africa, Free the Bears in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and others throughout Southeast Asia. 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. She has a sound understanding of the difficulties that Sun Bears face in the wild throughout Southeast Asia and is working towards building a great Conservation and Rescue centre with the SSBT.

Lauren Spence

Company Secretary

Lauren is a Registered Nurse with over 15 years’ experience in Perioperative Nursing. She spent time in Bangladesh on a humanitarian mission with a team, providing essential surgical procedures to the poor local communities. After travelling to Sumatra to assist in a project with the Sumatran Sun Bear Team, Lauren saw first-hand the importance of an organisation to help save the Sun Bears in Sumatra and joined the board shortly after returning from the trip.

Jon Minor

Company Director and Treasurer

Jon Minor

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

Matthew Collins

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.

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

Comapany Director, Veterinary Advisor

Kimberly Vinette-Herrin

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.

Kimberly eagerly joins the Sumatran Sun Bear Team as both a board member and veterinary advisor to support Sun Bear health and wellbeing and conservation of this magnificent species.

Menu