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Jenifer A. Zeligs, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the SLEWTHS program.
She is responsible for the program's direction and vision, as well as the overall management of the animal collection and staff.




Dr. Zeligs has been working with animals when she got her start at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Since that time she has trained dozens of species of terrestrial and aquatic animals, but she has specialized primarily in marine mammals. She has also worked as a training consultant with exotic and domestic animals, as a veterinary technician, and with animals trained to assist the handicapped.
Dr. Zeligs has trained animals for research, free release in the open-ocean, feature films and documentaries, public display and veterinary purposes. She has collaborated with numerous facilities and organizations, including work with Sea World of San Diego on the release of JJ, the grey whale, and work with Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums on the reauthorization of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Dr. Zeligs has been featured in over a dozen documentaries including National Geographic Explorer, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Dateline, NBC.
Dr. Zeligs received her doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she worked for Dr. Daniel Costa investigating diving physiology in trained California sea lions. While at UCSC's Long Marine Laboratory, she pioneered a program for animal training and management for sea lions, seals and dolphins which is still in use today.
Dr. Zeligs left UCSC for a post-doctoral position at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories under Dr. James Harvey. At MLML, she built and designed a marine mammal facility and developed the SLEWTHS program. Jenifer currently teaches at California State University at Monterey Bay and mentors students from all over the world in cutting-edge animal behavior and husbandry.
Updated January 2016