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Santa Barbara Zoo’s Julie Barnes Named to Expanded Animal Health and Care Position

Dr. Julie Barnes listens to a penguin’s heart beat at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Her duties as director of animal health have expanded to include animal care. Click to view larger
Dr. Julie Barnes listens to a penguin’s heart beat at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Her duties as director of animal health have expanded to include animal care. (Santa Barbara Zoo photo)

Beginning August 2016, Santa Barbara Zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Julie Barnes, BVSc, MSc, has expanded her responsibilities to include animal care, said Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge.

In addition, two longtime members of the animal care team have been named curators. Mark Heully, who joined the Zoo in 2007 as apprentice keeper: ectotherms, has been promoted to curator of ectotherms, and Elizabeth Wilson, elephant keeper since 2006, has been named curator of elephants.

In the newly created position of director of animal health and care, Barnes will continue her oversight of all preventative and responsive medical care for the Zoo’s diverse animal collection. Added responsibilities include all aspects of animal collection management and the day-to-day operational needs of the animal care and animal health department.

A search for an additional zoo veterinarian will begin soon.

“By combining Animal Care and Animal Health under Dr. Barnes’ leadership, we will have a holistic approach to providing excellent animal medical and husbandry care,” McToldridge said. “She has been outstanding with our collection and our staff and has the broad background that allows us to do this.”

A native of Australia, Barnes moved to Santa Barbara in 2004 and served as a part-time clinical veterinarian at the Los Angeles Zoo until 2010 and campus veterinarian at UC Santa Barbara from 2005-09.

She began as the Santa Barbara Zoo’s relief veterinarian in 2005 and became the director of animal health in 2011.

Barnes graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and completed a master’s degree in wild animal health at the University of London and London Zoo.

Returning to Australia, she was a relief veterinarian at several zoos and wildlife parks and then was employed as a full-time clinical veterinarian at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo for seven years, which included work as a field veterinarian on seal research projects on two scientific research cruises in Antarctica and as a consulting veterinarian for a large public aquarium.

Barnes has published papers in scientific journals including The Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and Marine Mammal Science. She has also written veterinary medicine book chapters and taught undergraduate and postgraduate students from many veterinary schools both in Australia and the United States.

Lauren Gonzales is the marketing coordinator at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

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