Wouter Stellaard has been in the animal field for 28 years. His passion and career began in the Netherlands while working in a wildlife rehabilitation centre. He created his own animal ambulance while finishing his animal care studies. In the search for further education he came to the US where he graduated from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. After an internship he was hired at Natural Encounters Inc. As a senior trainer he helped create, set up, train, and present bird shows at zoos and aquariums across the country. As the Director of Behavioral Programs he consulted both nationally and internationally to create zoo wide animal training programs with keepers to grow their training and presentation skills.
Currently Wouter is the Animal Programs Training Director at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He is responsible for the training of staff and animals in a variety of areas with a variety of taxa. He and his team produce natural behavior mixed species shows, run an immersive close encounters guest area, as well as an African exhibit experience. The African exhibit focuses on life around an African watering hole featuring cheetah runs, bird flights, hoofstock, and a variety of mammal talks. Wouter’s passion is to teach people how to train animals using the science of behavior change and further the industry standards.