Australasian ADISC members

Paul Andrew


Taronga Zoo

Paul Bamford


Melbourne Zoo

Suzie Barlow


Melbourne Zoo

Wendy Blanshard


Sea World

Sara Brice


Taronga Zoo

Benn Bryant


Western Plains Zoo

Kirsty Chalmers


Auckland Zoo

Vanessa Di Giglio


Taronga Zoo

Amanda Embury


Melbourne Zoo

Ian Fraser


ARAZPA (New Zealand)

Gary Fry


Alice Springs Desert Park

Alan Henderson


Museum Victoria

Marnie Horton


Sea World

John Inkson


Taronga Zoo

Kevin Johnson (Chair)



Andrea Reiss


Taronga Zoo

Sjoukje Vaartjes


Melbourne Zoo

Jonathan Wilcken



Wendy Blanshard, Records/Special Projects Officer, Sea World

Wendy graduated from the
University of Queensland in 1980 with a BVSc and worked with domestic animals in private veterinary practice for 15 months, at the University's small animal clinic for two years, and as a tutor for four and a half years. Her veterinary experience with wildlife includes honorary work for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service at Moggill in Brisbane through the mid-1980's, two years as consultant veterinarian for Bunya Park Wildlife Sanctuary, and five and a half years as full-time veterinarian at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (1989-95). After six years as veterinarian at Sea World (1995-2001) she deliberately changed direction away from clinical work to take up the newly-created position of Records/Special Projects Officer at Sea World last year. She has been a member of the Wildlife Disease Association (Australasian Section) since 1984, and has acted as Chairperson (1995-97) and Treasurer (1997-98) of this group.

Wendy's computer experience began with some soulless data entry into dBase III and IV while at Uni, and transferring Lone Pine's koala breeding records at home into a DOS-based spreadsheet program called VP Planner to calculate the ages of pouch young reaching progressive milestones in their behavioural development. Fortuitously commencing work at Sea World in 1995 at about the same time that ACCESS 2 first became available on a single laptop in the park, she has been on a learning adventure ever since. Her home computer is a second-hand XT with two five and a quarter inch floppy drives and no hard drive, but the Sea World laptop travels a lot... A background in non-Government institutions may help her contribute to the ADISC list serve discussion group from a slightly different perspective.

Vanessa Di Giglio, Administrative Assistant, Veterinary & Quarantine Centre, Taronga Zoo

Vanessa has been employed at Taronga Zoo as an Administrative Assistant at the Veterinary & Quarantine Centre (VQC) since October 1992. Her responsibilities include maintaining medical animal records, the Division's computer systems and a variety of administrative tasks related to the day to day running of the VQC. Since 1993, She has entered information into the MedARKS anaesthesia, parasitology and clinical pathology modules for the veterinary department and is solely responsible for submission of veterinary reports to
ISIS and upgrading MedARKS on a regular basis.  Although the clinical records are still completed by hand, by the VQC's veterinarians, these records are typed and collated with MedARKS information prior to animal's being transacted to other institutions. Vanessa is also involved in the upkeep, data entry, report production and improvements of a pathology database. The pathology database is used for recording information on significant post mortem and histopathology examinations.

Vanessa was instrumental in the recent development of a wildlife rehabilitation database which is currently being used at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic at Taronga Zoo. This program was written in conjunction with New Zealand veterinarian and programmer Paul Prosee. This database contains information on all the animals (approximately 1500 per year) admitted to the Clinic, including information on movements of the animal throughout the rehab process, weights, identification, handraising information, diets, rehabilitation techniques, information on wildlife carers, post release monitoring and any pathology information. Both the Pathology and Wildlife databases were written in Access and are currently being converted for use on a Windows XP platform. They are linked so pathology information is automatically transferred into the rehab database (if the post mortem examination was entered into the system). Vanessa recently traveled to Uganda and was involved with setting up pro formal animal and veterinary record keeping systems, including animal admissions books at the Veterinary Centre of the Uganda Wildlife Education
Centre. She also setup ARKS 4.0 to be used for the animal collection and animal confiscations. She was also involved in Marketing activities, design of signage and interpretations for the Education department and production of procedures manuals for animal record keeping.

Marnie Horton, Assistant Manager and Aquarium supervisor, Marine Sciences, Sea World

Marnie completed a Bachelor of Science, zoology major, in 1991 at University of Queensland, then went on to work as a research assistant for a fish parasitogist, also at U of Q for 2 years. The parasites of interest were the external monogenetic trematodes that infect the skin and gills of marine sharks, rays and fish.

This was followed by a year of world travel.

Since then Marnie has been employed at Sea World on the Gold Coast, beginning as an aquarist for 1.5 years, Senior Aquarist for 2.5 years, then as Assistant Manager/Aquarium supervisor for the Marine Sciences division which encompasses all animals held at Sea World. During this time it became evident to Marnie that record keeping for individual fish was extremely difficult due to large numbers of a single species and very little individual variation for identification. Marnie's role within this group is to try and assist with the fishy side of things. As far as I.T. experience
goes, Marnie has moderately good knowledge of Exel and Access data base systems.

John Inkson, Systems Administrator, Zoological Parks Board of NSW

John has been working for the Board for the last 14 years, in a number of different roles. In 1988 he commenced work as a Casual Security Officer during the time the Giant Pandas were on loan to Taronga Zoo. Although originally determined to stay only 3 months, the Zoo "grew on him" and he performed various functions on the business side of the Zoos until the Information Technology section was formed in 1995. John joined the Information Technology Manager (Jenny Vasseleu), in planning and deploying the Board's IT infrastructure for the coming years.

From it's humble beginnings the Board's IT section has now grown to 4 full time staff, servicing 300 plus users and approximately 250 workstations and various other devices, across Taronga Zoo in Mosman and Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo NSW. Network infrastructure for the Zoos comprises of an ethernet network running TCP/IP with the majority of areas running at 100mbps, with a view to gigabit and wireless infrastructure in selected areas "soon". Connection between the two sites is via a 256k frame relay link, that will be extended in the future to accommodate Voice Over IP.

John has been instrumental in the implementation of a number of IT related projects at the Zoos. Recently (Aug-Sep last year) he was responsible for the successful migration of the Zoos Windows NT4 domain to Windows 2000 and Active directory. At the same time, upgrading the Standard Operating Environment from Windows 95 and Office 95 to Windows XP and Office XP (being part of Microsoft's Rapid Deployment Program, and one of the first companies in the world to deploy XP into a production environment), deploying the SOE through Remote Installation Services and Group Policy. See
for details.

John has been actively studying Information Technology since 1996, achieving Distinctions in a number of Certificate and Advanced Certificate courses with TAFE and is hoping to commence a degree in IT during the next 12 months. He also has a number of Microsoft certifications comprising at the moment MCP, MCP + I, MCSE (NT4), MCSE (W2K) and is working towards other Microsoft, Cisco and CompTia certifications. John is a member of the Australian Computer Society.

John's specialisations relates mainly to computer networks, PC type databases, a number of legacy systems in use by the Board, Microsoft
Operating systems and other products, back end server infrastructure (although experience with relational databases such as SQL server is

Kevin Johnson, Information Technology Manager, ARAZPA

Kevin has over 20 years experience working in the zoo community, in a variety of roles. In 1981, he began working as a keeper in the veterinary department at Melbourne Zoo. Four years later he moved to the Native Mammals department at the zoo, and then in 1989, took on the role of computerising the zoo's paper animal records system. During the four years that Kevin was the animal records officer at Melbourne Zoo, he
developed some additional reports for the ARKS software, and also helped with the development of the computerised animal collection planning software, REGASP.

For the last nine years, he has worked at the ARAZPA office in Sydney, and is still responsible for the development and support of REGASP. Kevin's current role in ARAZPA includes providing training and user support for the animal records programs distributed by the International Species Information System (ISIS) to users throughout the region. He is a member of the International Animal Data Information Systems Committee and the ISIS Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, as well as Chair of ARAZPA™s Animal Records Keeping Specialist Group.

Sjoukje Vaartjes, Animal Records Officer, Melbourne Zoo
Sjoukje started as a work experience Zoo Keeper at Healesville Sanctuary in May 1979.  After working voluntary on weekends, she gained temporary keeping positions to cover holiday leave.  This continued whilst studying for her BSc majoring in Botany and Zoology at
Monash University.
On completion of her university degree, she gained full-time employment as a keeper at Healesville.  Later that year, though, Sjoukje was successful in gaining a training place at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in the
UK, so resigned from Healesville.  The training course lasted 10 weeks, after which a temporary position was obtained as a keeper at Jersey, working on the mammal section.
A couple of years were then spent travelling and working in various pubs in London, and restaurants in South Africa, before returning to Jersey to be a keeper again for a further two years.  The second year was as keeper-in-charge of the Lemur section.
After then working as a camp counselor in a
USA summer camp, and traveling through the States to get back to Australia, Sjoukje was back at Healesville working as a keeper again - mainly on the hospital and raptor sections.
Once Kevin Johnson had decided he was leaving to work at the ARAZPA office in
Sydney, Sjoukje was asked to fill his now vacant position.  She has been at Melbourne Zoo ever since as the Animal Records Officer, also filling in this role at Healesville Sanctuary at various times.