Executive Director

Founder and Executive Director – Pat Craig – Pat began saving captive wildlife after learning that thousands of “surplus” animals were being kept in tiny cages in the back of zoos all across the country – with many being euthanized on a daily basis.  Pat set out on a mission to help save these animals by building a small rescue facility on his family farm outside Boulder, CO.  At age 19, Pat became the youngest state and federally licensed person in the country, as well as the first person to build a sanctuary dedicated to saving large carnivores. 


Pat’s vision has led 40 years later to the oldest and largest nonprofit sanctuary in the world dedicated exclusively to the rescue of captive exotic and endangered large carnivores that have been abused, abandoned, exploited or illegally kept. He has also pioneered the art of building large acreage species-specific habitats, giving rescued animals the opportunity to live together and roam freely within large natural spaces.


Pat’s 40 years of experience in captive large carnivore rescue, transportation, animal behavior and sanctuary development have led to his becoming a leading expert in the field. He has participated in The Association of Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuary Association, on whose board he served for a number of years.


Pat lectures regionally and nationally on captive wildlife rescue and transportation, great cat behaviors and diets, and has worked tirelessly toward better protection for these animals. He works hand-in-hand with the USDA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and many other state and national organizations in the never-ending fight to rescue animals in need. Pat has also worked with Canadian, Mexican, Spanish, Bolivian, Uruguayan, Panamanian and Peruvian government agencies on large and extremely complicated rescues from within their countries.


Pat oversees and participates in all TWAS’ operations, including rescues, both within the United States and abroad.  Pat has over 39 years of experience in designing, building and operating specialized rescue equipment for use in transporting large carnivores, and manages the largest fleet of rescue equipment in the country.  His expertise in handling large rescues in demanding situations, as well as successfully covering great distances is well known among law enforcement agencies across the U.S. 


Pat has a BS in Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and has received recognition and awards from many sources including the United States Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award for service above and beyond to the USDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Humane Association and E-Chievement Award from E-Town Environmental Radio Show. He was also a finalist in Animal Planet’s “Hero of the Year” selections.


Chief Operations Officer

Rob is the Sanctuary's Chief Operations Officer and heads up the operational management for both our Sanctuary and Refuge in Colorado, as well as our other Sanctuary located outside of Fort Worth, Texas. Rob has an extensive background in both facility operations and project design and fabrication. ​

Rob manages habitat design, construction and maintenance, as well as facility operations and the Sanctuary's fleet maintenance efforts.  His design and fabrication skills are invaluable and utilized in all aspects of operations.  

Rob enjoys working with his operational staff, as well as those in other departments to come up with creative solutions to daily issues, as well as the more prevalent urgent situations.  Rob also participates in rescue operations and the many post-rescue improvements that are done to enrich the life of every animal we rescue. 



Chief Science and Welfare Officer

Becca Miceli has been working with the animals at The Wild Animal Sanctuary for more than 19 years.  During that timeframe, Becca has served in every capacity imaginable in order to help the animals we rescue.  Becca has a degree in Non-Profit Management from Metropolitan State University of Denver School of Business and is a Certified Veterinary Technician.  Having cared for and treated over 600 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores during her time with the Sanctuary, Becca is by far the most experienced large carnivore medical technician in the country. 


As Director of Animal Care, Becca oversees a full time animal care staff of nine, as well as more than 160 volunteers that routinely work with her staff to ensure each and every animal living at the Sanctuary is being given the best possible care and species-specific treatment.  Becca ensures each animal’s overall accommodations and rehabilitation program has been dialed-in to help them live a long, happy and exceedingly healthy life with us



Chief Administration Officer

Jessica (Jess) is a self-motivated professional with over 6 years of progressive experience in the clinical veterinary and research healthcare industries. She has a deep understanding of the life cycle of clinical research studies and applies her wide knowledge of animals and science toward keeping the Sanctuary operations in perfect form. Jess has the ability to foster a performance-driven environment, like what is needed at the Sanctuary, and is proactive in her pursuit of a results-driven and goal-oriented work environment. Jess is also highly experienced at interpreting complex federal and state-level government regulations and ensures Sanctuary compliance through training, process development, and quality assurance.


Dr. Joyce Thompson

Sanctuary Veterinarian

Dr. Joyce Thompson is a Colorado native.  She obtained her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 2004 and became certified in acupuncture in 2013.  Her special interests are pain management, behavior, and internal medicine.  Prior to her veterinary training, she developed and managed the animal training and behavior program at the Longmont Humane Society for 10 years.  

Dr. Thompson is a member of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and has been a long-time supporter of TWAS and the mission to help those that can’t help themselves.  Her free time is spent camping, gardening, hiking, knitting, sampling local breweries, and occasionally traveling and searching for the perfect beach.  She lives in Windsor with her fiancé, Brad, and Dallas & Daisy (handsome yellow lab and sassy black kitty).

The Sanctuary's Staff

Animal Care

Office, Development & Accounting

Communications, Volunteering & Information Technology

Welcome Center Associates

Food Transport

Operations Team

Snack Bars

Gift Shop

Ice Cream Shop

Lion's Den Cafe

The Sanctuary's Board of Directors

Toni Scalera

Board Chair

Toni Scalera- Independent - current Term 1/2021-1/2023

Toni has been saving and advocating for animals all her life.  She began volunteering at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in 1999, and after seven years of working with every aspect of the Sanctuary's operations, became its first Director of Development & Public Affairs in 2006.  After serving in that position for many years, Toni relocated to California to be near her family, but has remained involved with TWAS by representing the Sanctuary's interests from afar.  Now working as Legal Administration Manager of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund on the west coast, Toni continues to bring a wealth of experience to TWAS, including funding, public and legislative affairs, donor relations, operations, rescues, and animal care.  Having graduated from Florida State University with a BA  Honors degree in commercial art, Toni has parlayed her creativity into a variety of ways to serve the animals, and she is honored to continue serving the animals as TWAS Board Chair.

Toni Scalera

Board Chair

Dr. Ashley Malmlov


Dr. Ashley Malmlov –  Independent - current Term 1/2020-1/2022

Like most people integral to the management of TWAS, Ashley started as a volunteer. In 2006, she was hired in administration, and managed the Sanctuary’s Adoption and Pledge programs. With her background as a Vet Tech, Ashley took the first opportunity available to work in animal care. In 2008, Ashley was accepted in to the Colorado State University Veterinary Program, and graduated in 2012. Ashley is currently continuing her education at CSU with a mircobiology residency, as well as volunteering at the Sanctuary helping treat our large carnivores. Ashley brings a variety of related experiences to TWAS’ board.

George Ellis


George Ellis –  Independent - current Term 1/2021-1/2023

George is a supervisor for the Boulder Housing Management in Boulder, CO, and has spent more than 38 years specializing in construction and carpentry, and has acquired numerous advanced certifications. George has been heavily involved in The Wild Animal Sanctuary since its inception in 1980, with animal care and rescues, as well as in the construction of animal housing, rescue/transport cages, large animal enclosures, habitats and visitor infrastructure and large observation decks. Throughout the Sanctuary’s growth and evolution, George has been a stalwart presence in saving captive wildlife.

Scott Edwards


Scott Edwards - Independent - current Term 1/2020-1/2022

Scott Edwards – Scott, a veteran entrepreneur, founded his first company, Sportnet, in 1985. His second company, Epigraphx, founded in 1992, delivered tailored fax and email services for Fortune 500 companies, and gained a market leadership position before merging with SilverPop Systems Inc., in 2001. The third company, StuffBak, founded in 2000, continues to provide loss protection and recovery services for consumers and corporations. Scott has raised $9MM in angel and venture capital financing, and is a seasoned manager, having been the President and CEO of all three companies. Additionally, Scott was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Mountain Travel, and President and CEO of Boulder Rock Club and Colorado Mountain Club. Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree in business communications from Pepperdine University and is the General Manager of LockIn Security, LLC.


Scott was involved with the Sanctuary in the early 1980’s when the original facility was started outside of Boulder, CO, and spent a modest amount of time interfacing with the Sanctuary until he relocated to CA.  Years later, Scott moved back to CO and eventually became highly involved with helping the animals during the Bolivian Lion Rescue.  Scott remained committed to helping the Sanctuary grow and was instrumental in helping the Sanctuary to raise funds for building the Mile Into The Wild Walkway.  Scott continues to utilize his entrepreneurial skills as a member of the Sanctuary’s Board of Directors.

Maria McCann-Glover


Maria McCann-Glover - Independent - current Term 1/2021-1/2023

Maria McCann is a professional actress, business owner and mother of two that lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.  Maria Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA and has maintained a long and highly successful career within the motion picture industry, as well as acting on stage, in television series, commercials and other professional mediums.  Maria has been involved with supporting The Wild Animal Sanctuary in many ways for numerous years, including donating her talent toward several Captive Wildlife Crisis education projects.  She continues to be an outspoken advocate for animal welfare and our organization within her industry and on many other fronts.