Pangolin Project Coordinator, USA
Lauren Ayres Martinez was born in Missoula, Montana and raised there, Jackson, Wyoming and Hood River, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology & Psychology and Master’s of Science in Marine Ecosystem Management, both from Indiana University. Lauren has a passion for wildlife conservation and studied endangered coral and tropical ecosystems in the Dominican Republic during graduate school. She has worked as a zookeeper and animal trainer for 10 years, caring for a wide variety of different species. Currently she is part of the Animal Connections department at the San Diego Zoo where she educates guests and spreads important conservation messages. During her time as a keeper at the San Diego Zoo, she had the daily privilege of working with Baba, the White-Bellied Tree Pangolin, at the time the only pangolin in a western zoo. This experience opened her eyes to the plight of pangolins in the wild and the need for protection from poachers. She has collaborated with GCF to help bring pangolins into the conservation spotlight and currently serves as the state-side Pangolin Coordinator for the organization.