Emily Wilson, D.V.M. – Vet
Ever since Emily’s first viewing of The Lion King at the young age of five, her interests have been primarily focused on lions and other big cats, with the ultimate goal of one day becoming a veterinarian. She accomplished that goal by completing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015.
Emily spent many of her summers during her undergraduate years at Lee McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and throughout vet school, working as an animal keeper at Tiger Haven. This big cat sanctuary in Kingston, TN is home to 300 lions, tigers, and other big cats. She also completed internships at the Conservators’ Center in North Carolina, as well as the Nashville Zoo. Emily has traveled to South Africa for a wildlife conservation internship in Hoedspruit, and a summer with a veterinarian in Lephalale. On these trips, she participated in everything from collecting data on lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and various hoofstock, to assisting with immobilization of antelope and rhinos for relocation and veterinary care.
Emily enjoys all aspects of exotic cat medicine, and is especially interested in cancer and neurologic diseases affecting these felines. During her training UTCVM, she was privileged to contribute to research sponsored by the National Institute of Health, which she looks forward to continuing.
In her free time, Emily enjoys hanging out with her dog, Lulu, taking pictures, drawing, and collecting rocks/gemstones. She is very happy to be a part of the In-Sync family!
Andrea – Curator
Andrea first came to In-Sync as a volunteer in 2009. We knew in the first four months that Andrea was going to be a great asset to In-Sync. Andrea used to volunteer with the Kids wheelchair Basketball as a coaching assistant. She has always loved working with her own cats and wanted someday to work with and learn all she could about big cats. Andrea learned very quickly and showed that she could be very dependable. In 2012 we were able to hire Andrea as a keeper and we are very fortunate to have her on our staff. Andrea loves to read and feels it’s one of the best ways of learning about the cats she now cares for. She also likes to make jewelry and can play three instruments. Andrea wants to someday work with the big cats in Africa; we hope now, she is here to stay!
James Green – Keeper/Lead Keeper
The only thing comparable to my love for tigers is my love for Billy Joel and the New York Mets. I was born and raised on Long Island, New York, where I spent most of my days playing sports, eating pizza, and hanging with friends and family. I went to college at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, where I graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in General Biology and a minor in Communications. After college I spent a year working in construction, before putting my degree to use as a Fisheries Observer for NOAA. For a year I worked all along the east coast collecting data on the marine life in the North and Mid Atlantic. I have always loved the ocean but decided to change paths and head inland. In February of 2019, I landed in Texas at In-Sync Exotics, where I started as an intern and now work as a Keeper. Coming to In-Sync has given me the opportunity to work with awesome animals, but also the chance to meet my boy Solomon, who is a tiger and my best friend.
Brett Mappes – Lead Keeper
Brett is native to Colorado and graduated with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. Brett started off his career with rehabilitating raptors in Colorado. After that he travelled to Alaska where he studied climatic effects on Canada Jays including researching and tagging eagles. Brett also participated in programs such as capturing and collaring ungulates through the Rocky Mountains. Brett’s work with exotic cats started with an internship at a sanctuary Minnesota. Some of his hobbies typically include outdoor activities like camping, hiking and sports. Brett states, “I am excited to be a part of the In-Sync team and to give these cats the best home we can give them!”
Jennifer Hatch – Keeper
Jennifer has always been drawn to animals, especially cats, reptiles, and raptors. Jennifer started volunteering in January 2016, and knew that she wanted to work with big cats in the future. Jennifer attends Tarrant County Collage and is working towards a degree in zoology. She was hired as a staff member in October 2016, and is very thankful for her opportunity to work with these majestic animals. She really likes learning everything she can to help out the cats. Jennifer enjoys being with nature, going on hikes, and camping. She loves to see wild things in their natural state. She wants to learn more about big cat species in the wild and hopes to see less harm to them all, one day.
Kyra Martakis – Keeper
Kyra was born and raised in New York, and received a degree in Wildlife Conservation & Management from Delaware Valley University in May 2017. Kyra was raised to love and care for all animals from a very young age and knew that was where her career path would lead her. After doing internships at various facilities, Kyra knew she wanted to work with big cats. In February 2018 she was offered a keeper position at In-Sync Exotics and was only too happy to accept. From her first day she completely fell in love with the cats and has enjoyed every day since. Kyra also acts as the staff representative for our team building program keeping our volunteers connected with our staff members. Kyra is also on the feeding team for the cats and helps to feed out bones every Sunday. When she’s not working Kyra enjoys reading, swimming and horseback riding as well as spending time with her friends and family and her own kitties at home.
Natalie Selvka – Keeper
Originally from Terryville, Connecticut, Natalie graduated in 2019 from Kent State University in Ohio with a B.S. in Zoology. Her first internship was at In-Sync Exotics in 2017 and she promised to return as a keeper when she finished her degree! In 2018, she interned at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Connecticut where she cared for their giraffes, zebras, warthogs and red river hogs and was cross-trained in the primate, carnivore, and additional hoofstock sections. In 2019, she interned at the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut in the mammal department where she worked with harbor seals, river otters, meerkats, Geoffrey’s tamarins, and a few additional small mammals. Though she has worked with a diversity of species, big cats have always remained her favorite. She loves to ride horses, read, binge watch Netflix, hang out with friends and family, and be active outdoors when she isn’t at the sanctuary.
Sarah Madden – Keeper
Sarah grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago for most of her life. Ever since she was little she knew her career would revolve around animals. She went to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and got her degree in Natural Resource Management with a Concentration in Wildlife. From there she has participated in 2 internships in wildlife rehabilitation, one at Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center in Delphi, IN and one at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, NC. She has also interned at two sanctuaries. She was an intern here for 6 months and at Forest Animal Rescue in Silver Springs, Florida for 3. She has traveled across the country to take these internships and used the opportunities to take road trips with her family. She loves to travel and do outdoor activities in her free time. When she wants a lazy day off, she likes to stream movies and tv shows from her many accounts. She has two cats named Skittles and Coconut and she cant wait for them to meet one day.