Animal Wellness

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Our vet and animal care staff at Oatland Island Wildlife Center work hard every day to ensure the health and well-being of all our animals. From routine physical and mental evaluations to preventative care they make sure that all the animal residents are healthy, engaging and happy. 

All of our team members are highly trained professionals in animal welfare and handling.

Meet our Animal Care team!

Dr. Lesley Mailer​, Veterinarian & Supervisor of Animal Programs

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Dr. Mailer grew up in Savannah and received undergraduate degrees from Armstrong Atlantic State University and UGA. After graduation, she entered private practice and obtained her wildlife rehabilitators license. After several years, she returned to Savannah and continued in private practice and was the veterinarian of record for Oatland Island. In 2004, she officially joined the staff at Oatland Island, allowing her to pursue her dream of practicing wildlife medicine full-time.​

Amanda Michael, Senior Animal Care Technician 

Originally from Redding, Ca, Amanda graduated from Humbolt State University with a BS in Marine Biology & Zoology with a minor in Anthropology. She has loved animals her entire life and grew up in a house always full of previously abandoned pets and wayward strays. Her passion for animals has always been supported by her amazing family. She enjoys working with animals because she feels every living creature deserves compassion and respect and is thankful to be able to provide them with that on a daily basis. She came to Oatland Island in July of 2020 and hopes that her passion and excitement for animal welfare and conservation will teach and educate future generations.


Mechelle ​Denmark, Animal Care Technician

Mechelle was born and raised in Savannah, GA. She got her Associates of Applied Science - Criminal Justice from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2015, but decided that she wanted to pursue her passion for working with animals. Between her grandparents' house in Newington, GA, and hers on Wilmington Island, she grew up with many farm and domestic animals.  Mechelle is a Team Leader at Savannah Wildlife Rescue Center since 2016 and is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. She acquired a certificate in Zoo and Aquarium Sciences in 2017. Mechelle became part of our Animal Care Team in November 2019. She has a hard time picking a favorite animal due to all of her experiences at Oatland and Savannah Wildlife Rescue. Some of her favorites include wolves, raccoons, gators, otters, fox, deer, and the farm animals.

Kailyn Keeton, Animal Care Technician

Originally from the Savannah area, Kailyn grew up coming to Oatland every year for nature education field trips. Between this and growing up constantly surrounded by animals, it sparked her passion for the natural world and wildlife. She later became involved in agriculture education through the local Future Farmers of America chapter and subsequently in exotic animal husbandry. Kailyn is a certified veterinary assistant and also works at a local clinic. She first became involved at Oatland in August of 2020 as an education intern before transitioning to the animal care team in 2021. She particularly enjoys helping people understand the importance of Georgia's Wildlife and strives to help others create real connections through Oatland's animals. Caring for the animals is always enjoyable, but she especially likes working with the armadillos, alligators, and farm animals. 

Jade Parson, Animal Care Technician

Jade was born in Norfolk, VA and raised in a variety of states due to being in a military family. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Studies with a minor in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2016. Her animal career started while she was in college doing various internships at veterinary clinics, a co-op with the Dolphin Communication Project in Bimini. Jade's desire to learn about and work with native species, specifically in GA, brought her back to Savannah, GA. Jade became part of our Animal Care Team in May 2022 and is excited to learn all there is to know about Georgia Wildlife and is excited to share her love and passion of animals through the education and conservation efforts at Oatland Island Wildlife Center.

Kaitlyn Pleau, Animal Care Technician 

Kaitlyn received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in biology with a minor in environmental conservation. With this, she was able to collaborate with the local aquarium to not only begin her animal care career but also conduct her senior thesis with the resident sea turtle. Kaitlyn has always had a passion for wildlife and has had the unique opportunity of being on both the animal care and education side of zoos. She is passionate about creating connections between people and local wildlife and hopes to continue sharing fun animal facts with the visitors at Oatland Island. She enjoys working outside while around the animals and any day is a great day when an opossum is involved.  

Valley Stipemaas, Animal Care Technician

Valley is from Athens, Georgia, and was raised on a small farm with many animals. She graduated from Beloit Liberal Arts College in Beloit, Wisconsin with a BS in Environmental Studies in Art. While completing her BS degree, she worked her summers with groups like the USDA and Bear Hollow Zoo. After graduating in 2019, Valley worked many animal jobs, such as a wildlife rehabilitator, ring-tailed lemur keeper, parrot aviary keeper, nature center educator/herptile keeper, and as a UGA stablehand. Valley became a member of the Oatland Island Wildlife Center Animal Care Team in 2021. She would never be able to pick a favorite animal, but she does love the silly sounds that chickens make! Valley has always had a passion for wildlife and an eye for seeing an animal’s perspective, she strives to help whatever animal she can, and to improve the life of any animal she is able to.

Interested in joining our team? View our current job posting here.

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