Conservation & Research
IPBCC Advisory Board
Members of the IPBCC Advisory Board are appointed jointly by the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the Province of Manitoba.
Jeff Andrews, Chair
Vice President, Zoological Operations, Busch Gardens Tampa
Jeff Andrews is currently the Vice President of Zoological Operations at Busch Gardens Tampa. Jeff has been in the zoo field since starting at SeaWorld San Diego out of college in 1985. He spent 16 years as an animal trainer and manager of various marine mammal collections, including overseeing the killer whale program and domestic/international transports.
He left SeaWorld as an assistant curator in 2001 to take a position at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as an animal care manager with his primary responsibility of developing the African and Asian elephant programs. Initially he supervised 1.3 African and 1.5 Asian elephants; and later, the arrival, management, and training of 1.6 naïve African elephants rescued from a cull in southern Africa. He developed a progressive training and management program that has become very successful in African elephant breeding and research. Since 2004 the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has had twelve elephant births. Jeff is also very involved in Asian elephants, as the Associate Curator of Mammals for the San Diego Zoo he also oversaw the elephant collection at the San Diego Zoo. Jeff is proud to be involved in helping develop animal behavior and elephant programs in the US, Canada, South America and Africa. He has worked with around 90 elephants on four continents and has personally transported over 30. He has delivered elephants to zoos eight times and is currently working to complete additional transfers. His consulting and San Diego Zoo work has had him operating at over 15 different zoos and much of his work has involved large carnivore management, including various ursids and polar bears.
One of Jeff’s primary interests is in the field of conservation related behavior research with zoo collections and in the field. To this end he has travelled to Africa and Asia many times and is involved in community based capacity building programs in Kenya and Botswana. He has several published manuscripts and articles and is working on more in the fields of elephant biology.
Jeff has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and a master’s degree from George Mason University with a specialization in animal collections management. He and his wife have two sons both in college he currently splits his time between Tampa, Florida and San Diego, California.
Geoff York, Vice-Chair
Polar Bear expert with the Global Arctic Program, World Wildlife Fund Canada
Providing pan-Arctic leadership and coordinated communications for the WWF network on polar bears and Arctic species since 2008, Geoff has lived in Alaska for 21 years, coming north to pursue a Masters degree in science/biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has many years of field experience in the Arctic, most recently as a biologist and program manager for the US Geological Survey's Polar Bear Project, the leading polar bear research team in the US.
Geoff joined the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center (USGS-ASC) in 1996 as coordinator for the Alaska Marine mammal Tissue Archival Project (AMMTAP). In 1998, he helped establish the long-term Seabird Tissue Archival and Monitoring Project (STAMP) in collaboration with the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He began his focus on polar bears during that same year and ultimately served as the program manager for the USGS Polar Bear Research Project including leading fieldwork in the capture and handling of free ranging polar bears, radio telemetry, and developing the usage of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) technology for the detection of polar bear dens. He was the primary Alaskan point of contact for all organizations collaborating with the Polar Bear Project and managed Alaskan outreach, training, fieldwork, and logistics.
Currently the Head of Arctic Species Conservation for the WWF Global Arctic Programme, Geoff’s major responsibilities include providing network wide leadership and coordinated communications for WWF on polar bears and Arctic species, as well as overseeing and leading the development and implementation of WWF’s polar bear conservation strategy. In his position Geoff is also tasked with ensuring the integration of polar bear conservation with priorities in shared ecoregions to ensure maximum efficiency in threat mitigation and program delivery; establishing strong links with scientific and indigenous communities to ensure broad communication and participation in planning and implementation of polar bear activities; facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences among WWF offices and external experts while remaining abreast of potential issues related to Arctic conservation and management, such as adaptation-mitigation strategies, climate change, industrial development, and shipping; and providing technical advice to field and policy staff, and to the broader WWF Network.
Director of Zoological Operations, Assiniboine Park Zoo
As the Director, Zoological Operations at Assiniboine Park Zoo, Tim Sinclair-Smith has an extensive zoological background and is focused on upgrading the Zoo to become a leading facility in conservation, research and education.
Born and raised in Australia by parents who were both zookeepers, Tim started his career in the Zoological and Conservation industry as a junior keeper at age seven and has gained experience in organizations all over the world. Over the past 20 years he has worked in several zoological facilities in Australia, East Africa, Cameroun as well as other facilities in Canada. Most recently, Tim was at the Calgary Zoo where he was Curator for Eurasia, South America and Savannah and Curator of Behavioural Husbandry.
As a lifetime keeper and Zoo & Aquarium professional he has dedicated his life to improving the standards of facilities throughout the world. As such, Tim has also served as an Inspector for both the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Canadian Association of Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA), the main governing bodies for zoos in North America. He is also a current member of the CAZA policy committee, ethics committee and polar bear committee. Tim’s goal is for zoological facilities to work together for the benefit of the wildlife and environment, ensuring a future for our endangered species.
Superintendent, Manitoba Field Unit, Parks Canada
Marilyn Peckett is the Field Unit Superintendent for Parks Canada in Manitoba. She is accountable for the effective operation and stewardship of Wapusk National Park and nine national historic sites throughout Manitoba, most notably Lower Fort Garry and The Forks in the south.
Marilyn returned to Manitoba in 2010 after serving five years as the Superintendent of Elk Island National Park, Canada’s first wildlife sanctuary, near Edmonton, Alberta. She began working for Parks Canada in 2001 as the Project Manager to create a national park that represents the Manitoba Lowlands natural region of Canada. Prior to this, she was a Protected Areas Specialist facilitating the involvement of Aboriginal communities in Manitoba’s Protected Areas Initiative, was part of Manitoba’s Eco-region 90 Ecosystem-Based Management Pilot Project team, and an environmental technician for the Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation.
Marilyn represents Parks Canada as a non-voting member of the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site project’s Board of Advisors, supporting five First Nation communities that are working together to achieve recognition for the natural and cultural heritage values of a large tract of boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. Marilyn also serves on the Upper Fort Garry Heritage Provincial Park Advisory Committee and is the first Chair of Assiniboine Park Zoo’s International Polar Bear Conservation Centre Advisor Committee.
Biodiversity Conservation Zoologist, Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship
Bill Watkins is a Biodiversity Conservation Zoologist with the Wildlife Branch of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, where he is involved in management planning for animal species at risk. During his 27 years with the department, Bill has worked on issues related to protected areas planning, rare species inventory and monitoring, and endangered species recovery planning.
Since 2007, Bill has been a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the body which advises the federal Minister of the Environment on the listing of species under Canada’s national Species at Risk Act. He has been a member of several National Recovery Teams for endangered species and is a former chair of the provincial Woodland Caribou and Wood Bison Management Committees. He is currently chairing a departmental working group examining policy and legislation regarding listing and management of species at risk under Manitoba’s Endangered Species Act.
In 2002, Bill coordinated the policy initiative that resulted in Manitoba’s Polar Bear Protection Act and Regulations and has co-managed the process for subsequent legislative amendments. For the last five years he has devoted several weeks a year to working with zoos in North America on a volunteer basis to help implement the high standards of care set by the province of Manitoba in their captive polar bear facility and husbandry standards regulation.
Bill also lectures at the University of Winnipeg, where he created the curriculum for two new courses that he now teaches; an undergraduate level course on Ecology and Management of Species at Risk, and a graduate level course on Bioscience Policy in Government.
Bill has a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology and a Master’s Degree in Science from the University of Manitoba. He and his wife Angie reside in Winnipeg and have raised four daughters.
Executive Director, Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Michael Goodyear has lived and worked throughout most of northern Canada from the Ungava region of Quebec and Labrador in the east to Inuvik in the west and Arctic Bay on the northernmost tip of Baffin Island. Mike holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. (Zoology) from the University of Manitoba with particular emphasis on boreal and arctic ecology. In 1999, under the supervision of the late Dr. Stuart Innes, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, he completed his M.Sc. thesis on variation in adult size and pattern of growth in ringed seal throughout the Canadian Arctic.
Michael assumed the Executive Director role at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in 2000, having served previously as a regional wildlife biologist for the Government of Saskatchewan. Among his current priorities are the renewal of northern research infrastructure, the promotion of winter ecological research, and improved north-south information exchange. Over the past decade, Michael has lectured extensively on the polar bears of western Hudson Bay as an instructor for the Centre’s Lords of the North education program. He served as the Secretary-Treasurer for the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) for six years and volunteers actively in the Churchill Scouting movement.
The Churchill Northern Studies Centre is an independent, non-profit research and education facility located 23 km east of Churchill, Manitoba. Established in 1976, the CNSC provides accommodations, meals, equipment rentals and logistic assistance to researchers working in the Hudson Bay region. In addition to facilitating research, the Centre hosts a wide variety of educational programs for universities and the general public. The CNSC is currently in the final stages of a major $20 million program of infrastructure renewal, including a new facility in Churchill which opened in June 2011.
Dr. Jane Waterman
Wildlife Researcher and Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba
Jane Waterman, Ph.D. specializes in behavioural ecology with a focus on the factors that influence the evolution of sociality and mating systems. She first entered the realm of research when studying the social behaviour of Columbian ground squirrels while obtaining her master’s degree at the University of Alberta.
While pursuing her PH.D at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Waterman continued to investigate the social behaviour of ground squirrels by conducting her research in the Kalahari of southern Africa. In her research she found that male African ground squirrels form their own groups, independently of females, which is quite rare in the wild. These findings led to Dr. Waterman’s collaboration with Dr. Malcolm Ramsay at the University of Saskatchewan on a study of play behaviour by male polar bears, another species that forms all-male groups.
Dr. Waterman spent two years as an assistant professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, after which she joined the faculty at the University of Central Florida where she was able to continue her research on the social behaviour of ground squirrels and of polar bears, as well as examining the influence of ecotourism on bear behaviour.
Since moving to the Department of Biology at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Waterman has continued to study social behaviour in mammals, returning to examine social systems in southern Africa and expanding the work to include ground squirrels in Winnipeg at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. In addition, she has expanded the polar bear project to include computer photo identification of Churchill bears using their whisker spot patterns as a means to assess the number and behaviour of bears in the tourist region.
Research Associate, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER)