Melanie Croce 🇺🇸
After studying Environmental Science at Virginia Tech University, Melanie went on to do environmental consulting work on the BP Oil Spill Response on the Gulf Coast, before becoming an Animal Care and Education Intern for SRI back when it was known as ‘Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary’ in 2013. From there, she went on to gain further wildlife nonprofit experience as Research Associate for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, followed by a long term post doing sea turtle and endangered primate conservation and ecotourism work on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. With this new diversity of international skills, she was invited back to Ireland as SRI’s Operations Manager in April 2017, later to become Executive Director, a role she has held since. Her passion for wildlife and environmental conservation and tireless commitment to SRI has been fundamental to the organisation’s growth.
Kim Townsend Smyth 🇮🇪
Community Engagement Manager
Kim is a graduate of Zoology (BSc) and Wildlife and Conservation Management (MSc) from University College Dublin (UCD), and has worked in the management of sea turtle conservation projects in Greece since 2012. She has worked on both NGO projects and EU Life projects. She has gained extensive experience in field monitoring, volunteer management and public awareness activities while working at two of the biggest nesting sites for Loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean. Kim is passionate about environmental education believing that informing and engaging people is the strongest tool we have to achieve conservation goals. She joined SRI as Community Engagement Manager in March 2019 and quickly made herself a vital asset to our long term team.
Hayleigh Gray 🇮🇪
Animal Care Manager
Hayleigh has a strong background in animal sciences, having completed a Bachelor of Science from the National University Ireland Galway with a focus on Zoology in her final year. Keen to take on the challenges of the dynamic world of animal rehabilitation, she joined SRI in November 2019 as an Animal Care and Education Intern. Hayleigh was quickly recognized for her amazing work ethic, so it wasn’t long before she was invited to extend her stay with a promotion to Senior Animal Care Manager. Hayleigh is known to be incredibly efficient and effective at completing daily tasks, earning her the nickname “The Machine”. She is highly organized and is always coming up with new ways of improving our centre and animal hospital. Hayleigh is a great leader and mentor to all of our Animal Care Staff and Interns, and is an integral part of our team!
Gabriella Kohler 🏴
Unfulfilled with her occupation as a human doctor, Gabriella took the bold decision to transfer her skills to something new. A passion for wildlife rehabilitation was ignited during her job as a wildlife rescue driver. Discovering her new vocation, she became a wildlife carer at the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre – where she discovered her passion for marine mammals and sea birds. Travelling to South Africa, she successfully hand-reared endangered African penguin chicks with the SANCCOB team and helped care for 2000 endangered Cape cormorant chicks from Robben Island: a mass abandonment and seabird rescue event. Not forgetting her beloved seals, she also helped to rehabilitate native Cape fur seals and visiting Sub-Antarctic fur seals along South Africa’s Garden Route. Gabriella joined SRI in October 2021 as an Assistant Animal Care Manager and has assumed the role of Operations Manager. She has become a significant part of our dynamic team and regularly demonstrates her diligent and industrious nature.
Jeshua Taucher 🇳🇿
Project Manager & Horticulturalist
With a background in Psychology from the University of Otago and a Major Award in Organic Horticulture, Jesh has travelled the world doing NGO and volunteering projects including fundraising in the UK, ecotourism in South Africa, as well as spearheading environmental and children’s health programmes in Nepal. After returning briefly to New Zealand to work for the Department of Conservation, Jesh joined the SRI team in May 2018 to develop our education programme and contribute to much needed structural improvements. Since then, Jesh’s versatility and passion have flourished into the role of Project Manager and Horticulturalist, where he commits his skills to everything from website and CRM development to managing SRI’s sustainability, food production, water management, and progressing SRI’s proactive conservation mission through our Habitat Restoration Project.
Natalie Barry 🇮🇪
Senior Asst. Animal Care Manager
Natalie has a BSc in zoology from University College Dublin, where she was lucky enough to travel to places such as Costa Rica and Kenya to carry out fieldwork. This influenced her love and appreciation of wildlife across the globe. These experiences inspired her to continue her education by completing an MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation at the University of Bristol. She started as an Animal Care and Conservation Intern here at SRI in October of 2021. Her infectious enthusiasm and fantastic work ethic lead to her progressing to the role of Assistant Animal Care Manager. She also took on the roles of Giftshop Assistant and Sustainability Coordinator and has already become a valued member of the team.
Tiffany-Erin Brockman 🇮🇪
Asst. Animal Care Manager
Community Engagement Asst.
Tiffany studied Marine Science at National University of Ireland, Galway where her passion and knowledge for the environment developed. She grew up beside the ocean, swimming and surfing with a natural progression to get involved in helping it thrive when she grew up. During university she got involved in diving and saw firsthand the issues facing plants and animals in Irish waters. Over the years she spent time in South Africa working with terrestrial animals with field research on elephants, as well as wild animal care with rhinos, large cats and more. She has also worked in the marine sector doing research on sharks and whales on tourist boats as well as caring for penguins and being part of several community projects helping to educate the public on the environment.
Tiffany joined SRI in September 2019 originally as an Animal Care and Conservation intern, before taking on the role of Community Engagement Assistant, as well as Assistant Animal Care Manager. Tiffany is a well-rounded, team player who has become a great asset to the SRI team!
Rob Maiden 🇮🇪
Asst. Animal Care Manager
Habitat Restoration Assistant
Co-Rescue Network Coordinator
After graduating college with an outdoor leadership cert, Rob worked in different outdoor centres and countries where he spent most of his time on the water. Over the years, he came in contact with many marine mammals and experienced first-hand the negative impacts humans had on them. This inspired him to get more involved in marine conservation, which brought him to SRI. Soon after starting as an intern, Rob’s passion and enthusiasm progressed him to the role of seal senior. His leadership capabilities shone through here, and he stepped into the Assistant Animal Care Manager role in November 2021. His favourite part of Animal Care is watching the pups progress through their rehabilitation and the reward that brings, as well as figuring out the personality of each seal and enjoying them for who they are. Still wanting to make more of an impact, Rob took on the role of habitat restoration assistant and hopes to help the environment and give us a better tomorrow through supporting SRI’s habitat restoration initiatives.
Áoife O’Donoghue 🇮🇪
Asst. Animal Care Manager
Donations & Memberships Coordinator
While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in General Science at Maynooth University, Aoife found herself drawn to biology and environmental conservation in particular. After graduation, she took part in a camera trapping project in a cloud forest in Costa Rica, where she got to see the firsthand impacts of habitat restoration and protection on threatened mammal populations such as the jaguar and Bairds tapir. She was so inspired by this work that she chose to pursue a Masters’s Degree from UCD’s Global Change: Ecosystem Science and Policy programme. Upon completion, Aoife joined the SRI team as an Animal Care and Conservation Intern in April 2022, a role in which she quickly excelled. After proving her capabilities and strong leadership skills, Aoife took on Donations and Membership Coordinator, as well as Gift-shop Assistant, before being promoted to Assistant Animal Care Manager in September 2022.
Fionnuala Murphy 🇮🇪
Senior Animal Care Assistant
Co-Rescue Network Coordinator
Fin received a BSc in Zoology from the University College Cork and a Masters in Wildlife Documentary Production from the University of Salford. After her studies Fin travelled and taught English to students in Thailand. Before returning to Ireland, she decided to detour and spend time in Namibia volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary. She has come home to pursue her career in Animal Conservation and has made huge strides with SRI, taking on a lot of responsibility within our Management Team.
Our Board of Directors
Ally O’Sullivan 🇦🇺
Co-Founder & Trustee
After studying Captive Animal Management at Taronga Training Institute, and serving as an Animal Keeper at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Ally ventured to Co Kerry, Ireland in 2011, during the very early days of SRI when it was known as ‘Dingle Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary.’ With the intent of volunteering as Resident Animal Handler for six short months, Ally fell in love with Ireland’s seals and never left. She persevered through unimaginable challenges as Animal Care Manager alongside the charity’s founder, Ciaran, and has been the backbone of what SRI has become today. Although she now has her hands full with her own human pup, she still provides support and guidance to her team on the ground through her invaluable role as a Trustee.
Ellen De Vos 🇧🇪
Ellen first came to SRI in April of 2018 and was almost immediately recognised for her exceptional capabilities. She was promoted to the key role of Operations Manager where she provided consistent leadership and made incredible improvements to the organisation’s systems and management to enable SRI to grow leaps and bounds into the future. Incredibly dynamic and hard-working, Ellen is cherished by our interns, volunteers, and management team with her bubbly personality and brilliant work ethic. There is no doubt that she will continue to lift SRI to new heights through her role as a Trustee.