Cara Martel

Manager of Conservation Breeding & Reintroduction


    M.S. Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Administration - University of Missouri-Columbia

    Graduate Certificate in Conservation Biology - University of Missouri-Columbia

    B.S. Biology - Millikin University

    Cara Martel works with species on the brink of extinction, scaling conservation impact through managed breeding initiatives and reintroductions that support ecosystem restoration. She collaborates with in situ and ex situ teams for inclusive planning and targeted results, with a continual focus on effective conservation strategies for wildlife, wild spaces, and people to thrive.

    Prior to joining Re:wild, Cara was the Zoological Curator for Rhinos & Hoofstock at Busch Gardens Tampa, FL, USA, where she managed a diverse ungulate population on a 65-acre multispecies habitat, working to promote the conservation of threatened species through inspiring people to conservation action. Cara also managed zoological research and conservation at the Tampa park, identifying promising initiatives for long-term sustainability and reintroduction possibilities.

    With over twenty years in the zoological field, Cara has utilized her experience with animal husbandry and wellbeing, education, research, and breeding to promote conservation efforts throughout Florida as the Chairman of the Florida Association of Zoos & Aquariums' (AZA) Conservation Committee, nationally as a member of AZA’s’ Wildlife Conservation Committee, and globally as a Board Director on the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

    Throughout every effort, Cara strives to share her enthusiasm by connecting people to conservation, all with the goal of rewilding our planet for future generations.

    Martel C., Kuvawoga D., Rost, R., Hehmeyer, A., Diaz M., Arvelo M. (2021). Rhino conservation and the wildlife frontline: #RangersDeserveMore. Nzira Magazine 17:13-15.

    Black P., Burton M., Keller D., Martel, C. (2020). Evaluation of two anesthetic combinations in lowland Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 51(2): 290-296.

    Arnold N., Cain A., Rowland R., Steele S., Martel C., Burton M., Bissell H. (2017). The influence of giraffe behavior on parasite load: impact of husbandry modifications at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. In Ward A., Coslik A., Brooks M. Eds. Proceedings of the Twelfth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation, and AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Frisco, TX.

    Kruse (Martel) C. and Card J. (2004). Effects of a conservation education camp program on campers’ self-reported knowledge, attitude, and behavior. Journal of Environmental Education 35(4): 33-45.

    Kruse (Martel) C. (2003). Zoological evaluation: effectiveness of conservation education residence camps. M.S. Thesis University of Missouri–Columbia: U.S. Print.