OUR TEAM AND CULTURE

We are a team of professionals dedicated to promoting the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species in captivity and sharing our knowledge with others.

Mario Tabraue

Mario Tabraue

PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR
Maria Tabraue

Maria Tabraue

CO-PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR

Mario Tabraue is the co-founder and president of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation. He is strongly committed to exotic animal care, nutrition and behavior, and strives to use his knowledge and experience to inspire others.

At the Foundation, Mr. Tabraue applies his life-long passion for wildlife to create one-of-a-kind experiences with exotic animals, leading to exceptional encounters every day. His years of dedication to this endeavor have allowed him to better understand the endangered and rescued animals that call the Zoological Wildlife Foundation home. Several ZAA accredited facilities and veterinarians from around the world contact Mr. Tabraue for healthcare advice on wildlife in order to extend the survival rate of animals from birth.

Over the past 40 years, Mr. Tabraue and his team have created an environment for animals to stay healthy and improve their quality of life. The Foundation is the realization of a dream, and represents his enthusiasm for wildlife around the world. By housing a wide variety of exotic animals that serve as ambassadors for their species, it fulfills the educational and conservation-oriented goals that led Mr. Tabraue to start this journey.

Maria C. Tabraue is the co-President and Director of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF). As a young child, she began watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wildlife Kingdom with her father on Sunday afternoons and daydreamed of caring for exotic animals.

In 2000, Maria saw her dream come true when she became the surrogate mother to a leopard cub that she named “Gypsy.” As her bond with Gypsy grew deeper, so did her dreams to own a zoo. In 2001 she helped establish ZWF, which today cultivates a one-of-akind experience for the foundation’s first time visitors and loyal supporters.

Today, Maria continues to be passionate about the conservation and education of wildlife. She makes it her daily mission to help animals that are vulnerable to endangerment. For the past 15 years Maria has dedicated herself to ZWF by caring for the zoo’s near 200 animal residents and managing the day-to-day operations .

Along with her team at ZWF, she has focused on making ZWF educational, interactive and fun for families by providing an up-close-and-personal approach with wildlife. This has established ZWF as one of the top attractions in South Florida. Maria and her team at ZWF stay involved with the community and often bring their animal ‘ambassadors’ to schools and special events to educate the community about Earth’s amazing animals.

Maria has always been the person working behind the scenes to make many of ZWF’s partnerships possible. This includes the foundation’s partnerships with the Humane Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Live Like Bella, and the Zoological Association of America. She has also led the foundation’s participation in several conservation programs around the world, including programs in Africa and Asia.

Maria holds an associate legal assistance from Florida International University, and a bachelor’s degree in professional management Nova University. She is on the Miami Gala Executive Committee for St. Jude Research Hospital. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, and received the distinction of being honored as the 2014 Professional Woman of the Year.

Maribel

Maribel

BOOKING SUPERVISOR

Energetic as can be, Maribel’s fast pace yet meticulous customer service has helped ascend her role with us here at ZWF, rather quickly.

Her commitment and dedication contribute to the growth of the ZWF family and our supporters.

With her outgoing personality and attention to detail, guest satisfaction is her number one

Lauren

Lauren

EVENT COORDINATOR

If your looking to have an incredibly adventurous event, Lauren goes above and beyond to plan amazing itineraries for any occasion.

As one of the recurring Employees of the Month here at ZWF, she always adds that sweet final touch to any experience.

Helping us with exposure in the community and socialites that visit our area—she has been a priceless piece to the ZWF puzzle.

Melissa

Melissa

BOOKING AGENT

With the power to enchant guests with her charisma and unparalleled hospitality, she makes booking simple and convenient.

Being one of the newest additions to the ZWF family, Melissa’s relentless effort to help out in any way possible has made us welcome her with open arms.

Her passion and the palpable love she radiates, has aided in our mission to conserve and propagate our ZWF animal friends.

Karina

Karina

TOUR GUIDE SUPERVISOR

Karina has been with ZWF since 2016 when she began volunteering with us and has worked her way up tour guide.

Her aspirations are to tour the world; participating in the Lemur Conservation Center in Madagascar, Elephant Sanctuary & Forest Conservation in Cambodia, Greater Kruger Area Centers in South Africa, and Costa Rica Animal Rescue.

Pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, she currently attends Miami Dade College while training others how to follow in her steps here at ZWF.

Max

Max

TOUR GUIDE

Max is a consistent and dedicated employee whose compassion encompasses each tour and task he accomplishes throughout the day.

He sets forth individual attention to our ambassadors and engages them with different forms of enrichment such as sensory, behavioral and environmental enrichment

Emily

Emily

TOUR GUIDE

An animal lover since birth, Emily had always dreamt of working with furry friends like the ones at ZWF and so she started with us as a volunteer and swiftly blossomed into one of our senior—most warranted tour guides.

A graduate from Florida International University, her role is to educate guests about our mission and the importance of propagation and conservation of endangered species as she guides you on a wildlife adventure.

Her days are spent feeding and looking after our animal ambassadors as she dedicates her time to enrich and fortify her bonds with our young lions and primates.

Saliyha

Saliyha

TOUR GUIDE

Saliyha is always willing to go the extra mile for others on her team, helping out with daily tasks or handling encounters.

A graduate from the University of Notre Dame with her Bachelors in Anthropology, she is currently working on completing a master’s program in environmental studies followed by a Ph.D. in anthropology, doing research in Anthrozoology (human-non human-animal studies).

Her favorite part of ZWF is getting to re-experience the humbling wonder and excitement with each tour she guides.

Gabby

Gabby

TOUR GUIDE

Gabby is one of our elite staff members as she spends full days feeding and caring for our youngest felines and primates to ensure that when guest come to visit ZWF, they encounter the healthiest and happiest ambassadors.

She is a valuable asset to the team; willingly devoting her time and going out of her way to help with any task necessary.

Her selflessness, sincere love and familiarity for all our animal friends is not only appreciated but has made her the delightful guide she is today.

Jacob

Jacob

TOUR GUIDE

Jacob has been with us since he aided in our hurricane Irma relief project in September 2017. He helped cut down trees and aided with various other tasks. His efforts expedited our cleaning project and his involvement made a true impact.

Joining the tour guide team shortly after the 2017 restorative project finalized, he displayed his passion and knowledge on our inhabitants, even being referred to by guest as; “the future” of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation.

His favorite class of the Phylum Chordata is Reptilia, taking charge of fee0ding the scaly residents here at ZWF, for example; Burmese Python, California King Snake, American Alligators, and Argentine Tegu.

Stephanie

Stephanie

TOUR GUIDE

Currently pursuing her Bachelors in Biology at Broward College, Stephanie originally started with ZWF as an enthusiastic volunteer and has progressed to become an extremely knowledgeable and energetic tour guide.

Partaking in the raising of many young animal ambassadors at our foundation, she values any enrichment time that can help reinforce the strong bonds she currently possesses with each of our animals.

Her time with guests is exciting and educational as she aims to answer all inquiries one might have, even recalling cub and primate birthdays.

Anabel

Anabel

TOUR GUIDE

Anabel has shown dedication and perseverance; balancing volunteering with us around attending school to pursue a veterinary degree all while working part-time at a veterinary office.

Joining back in 2016, she has imprinted on our team alongside the animals yet her favorite individual here at ZWF is Zeus the Liger, which she first met as a tiny cub and has watched develop into the robust giant he has become.

Each day on the job, she teaches visitors the significance of protecting the species as she gains pivotal experience feeding and medicating them for the future from practiced experts.

Abby

Abby

TOUR GUIDE

Growing up on a ranch, Abagail has come to be one of our esteemed tour guides, with an avid long history of working with animals both big and small.

She graduated from Illinois Central College and traveled across the country to pursue her dreams of being hands-on with wildlife by beginning work with dolphins in South Florida.

Her eagerness to broaden her horizons in the exotic animal field brought her to ZWF where she now provides educational tours for guests and enjoys feeding and enriching with our animals throughout the day.

Yudislay

Yudislay

TOUR GUIDE

Yudislay started with ZWF as a devoted volunteer, shadowing team members and evolving into the most recent addition to the tour guide team; introducing all our animal ambassadors to our diurnal guests.

Her compassionate nature and love for animals reflects in her daily tasks as she handles the younger species like Abella, our beautiful white-faced capuchin monkey, in attempts to bond on a deeper level.

Michelle

Michelle

TOUR GUIDE

Ever since childhood on her grand mothers’ farm in Colombia, Michelle explored her infatuation with the Animal Kingdom and ended up joining the ZWF family in 2017.

As an outgoing and hard-working volunteer, she helps keep our facility clean and guides wildlife tours ad encounters on her spare time.

Her kind heart and diligence has bonded her with most of our fauna, allowing her to take guests on exotic enlightening expeditions.

Morgan

Morgan

WAREHOUSE SUPERVISOR

Responsible for the care, management and breeding of our exotic friends—Morgan is a huge asset to the ZWF crew and has worked with several other facilities throughout his lifetime.

For over 23 years, he has handled various types of wildlife ranging from hoofstock, to felines and primates making him a connoisseur of animal care and enclosure maintenance.

As a veteran with ZWF, having started with us over 10 years ago; he plans to see our mission through to promote the conservation and propagation of rare and endangered species in captivity and sharing our knowledge with others.

Daniel

Daniel

WAREHOUSE STAFF

Daniel spends his days at ZWF helping feed felines and other animal ambassadors while maintaining their habitats and enclosures, as well as, cleaning designated areas.

For the past year, he has enjoyed working with our staff to provide the best life possible for our large cats as he also finds chances for hands-on interaction in order to build trust and connect with each one on a deeper level.

Geneva

Geneva

VOLUNTEER

Being one of the most dependable volunteers at ZWF, Geneva’s sunny disposition and commitment radiates regardless of the time, day or chore she is carrying out.

Contributing on a daily basis to the care and needs of Limbani, the baby chimpanzee, she also caters to other ZWF animals by feeding, cleaning or even transporting them for regular check-ups at the veterinary office.

Shanelle

Shanelle

VOLUNTEER

Shanelle is one of our volunteers and dedicates her time to each weekend to ZWF, helping with tours, encounters, feedings, and cleanings.

She has been working with all types of animals for 9 years but truly has a strong passion for cats of all sizes and loves to take advantage of each moment with them.

Touring our foundation originally as a guest; she now enjoys educating our visitors on the lives and habits of our wildlife in hopes that education of such leads to the conservation of animals around the world.