ASTRID PULLEY, D.V.M., joined the Wildlife WayStation team in August 2006, returning to her native California after spending 2 years working at the Cincinnati Zoo. She came for a visit and immediately fell in love with our charismatic animals. Astrid says, “Hearing each animal’s story of how they came to be at the Wildlife WayStation, I felt a tugging at my heart. I wanted to be a part of giving them a better life. The life they deserve.”
Astrid knew from an early age both that she wanted to be a veterinarian and work with wildlife, particularly primates. She originally desired to do field work in Africa with chimpanzees or gorillas and still hasn’t given up on that dream.
Astrid graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from UC Santa Cruz and obtained her DVM from UC Davis, focusing her veterinary training on zoological medicine with externships at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, and the Sacramento Zoo. After graduating, she went on to complete a residency in Primate Medicine at the California National Primate Research Center in Davis, followed by a two year internship at the Cincinnati Zoo.
SILVIO SANTINELLI has had many years of experience in treating and caring for the large animal population of the Wildlife WayStation. He started working at the ranch in December 1987. Each day provides new experiences for Silvio who gains tremendous fulfillment from working with wild and exotic animals.
Silvio’s interest in working with animals developed early in life. As a young boy, he had a plethora of pets for which he was the sole caretaker. In school he excelled in chemistry and biology courses and dreamed of studying medicine. His love of animals, combined with his natural scientific abilities, prompted him to study veterinary medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico (UNAM)(Silvio is not a licensed veterinarian in the U.S.).
After moving to the United States, Silvio wanted to expand his veterinary knowledge to include wildlife and exotics. Previously, Silvio had worked mainly with farm and ranch animals. After learning about the Wildlife WayStation and its mission, he felt driven to become an integral part of its day-to-day operations.
To that end Silvio studied for more than three years under the direction of Ben Gonzales, D.V.M., a former Wildlife WayStation head veterinarian. Silvio finds his job compelling for many reasons. He revels in the challenges he faces on a daily basis in this highly specialized field and realizes that it is a rare opportunity to work with so many different species. He also appreciates being outdoors constantly and enjoys the environment of the Waystation, which feels far removed from the distractions of the city.
Silvio usually works a nine hour day. However, he feels particularly privileged to play a part in emergency situations for which he is on-call at the Wildlife WayStation. In short, caring for the animals of Wildlife Waystation is one of Silvio’s main life priorities