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
Dr. Mailer grew up in Savannah and received undergraduate degrees from Armstrong Atlantic State University and UGA. After graduating with her veterinary degree from UGA, 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
Amanda is originally from Redding, California. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, and Zoology, as well as a minor in Anthropology in 2006. Amanda has volunteered or interned all over the United States working with local wildlife and has even been over seas to work with animals in Australia, Cambodia, and Thailand. With over 20 years of experience working animals Amanda has come to call Savannah home and has worked with us since July 2020. Amanda has truly enjoyed being with Oatland and loves working with Ramone, our Ossabaw Hog, as well as the Cougars.
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.
Sarah Gerrets, Animal Care Technician
Sarah is originally from Madison, MS where she grew up adventuring outside and doodling all the animals she came across. She came to Savannah to attend SCAD, where she earned a degree in Illustration in 2022. Since graduating though, she's taken time to focus on her love of wildlife education and came to Oatland in October 2022 as an animal care intern. She's so excited and grateful to be able to pursue her lifelong passion for both art and animals, and hopes to continue exploring both. She is happier than ever spending time with all the critters at Oatland, but especially loves the goats, the wolves, the cougars, the gators, and the birds!
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.
Katie Sandefur, Animal Care Technician
Raised in Savannah,
Georgia, Katie briefly lived in Indiana while obtaining her Animal
Science degree at Purdue University. With a PADI Open
Water certification, she enjoys exploring local marine ecosystems and the
native species within them. In addition to her role at Oatland, Katie works as
a Park Ranger, educating the community about the importance of the preservation
and conservation of our natural resources and local fauna. Her passion for
wildlife and the environment drives her commitment to making a positive impact
on both the animals and visitors of Oatland Island.