BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Luke Tan
Mrs. Lora Wylie
Lora Wylie is a certified appraiser, who runs her own business in the Toronto area but her passion lies with animals. As a life-long animal advocate, Lora’s involvement with marine wildlife began in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez oil spill devastated Alaska’s southern coast. For several months, Lora joined a dedicated team of volunteers rescuing and cleaning birds, sea otters and other animals affected by the disaster. During her time with OERS, Lora has participated in several deployments, the highlights of which include the annual manatee health assessment deployment in Crystal Springs, Florida, where OERS volunteers dedicated their time and knowledge to the hands-on assessment of manatees, within their natural habitat, to provide baseline information on their health, reproductive status, and nutritional condition. Lora is also an active volunteer with the American SPCA, among other animal welfare organizations. Closer to home, she spends her time and resources rehabilitating and relocating orphaned wildlife including skunks, raccoons, opossums and any other creature requiring a helping hand, in addition to fostering and re-homing the lost and abandoned domestic pets that find their way into her home and her heart.
As is often the case with giving back, Lora’s contribution to animal welfare has rewarded her tenfold with decades of memorable experiences, valuable skills, and relationships with those who share the common interest of helping vulnerable wildlife. OERS has been instrumental in furthering her practical education of emergency deployment operations. She looks forward to many years of continued efforts with OERS, providing a better environment for all living creatures.
Dr. Karim Bandali
Karim Bandali obtained his PhD from the Department of Physiology in 2016, and currently works with Medtronic USA at their head office in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, USA as VP Global Marketing of Cardiac Surgery. Regarding his role with OERS, as the ‘True Convert’, Karim started out as a volunteer and with time, dedication and commitment he took over as OERS’s volunteer Coordinator for a number of years. After he moved to the USA we were lucky that he agreed to serve on the Board of Directors for the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society. Karim brings a great deal passion and experience in the areas of volunteer co-ordination and research. The passion and drive of the “Father” and “The Canadian Vet” are truly contagious! This cause is not only worthy but one that demands all of our attention and support. As a small but successful charity, OERS has made a significant impact on the Canadian landscape in the areas not only of wildlife rehabilitation but in education and research. OERS brings a level of awareness about marine mammals and their environment that is sorely lacking in our schools and our communities. Karim is the recipient of the 2003 Sherman Award for outstanding contributions to an environmental charity and The Government of Ontario 2003 Volunteer Service Award as a result of his contributions to OERS.
Dr. Mary Decaire
Mary Decaire is a veterinarian who has enjoyed caring for a wide variety of species during her forty years practicing veterinary medicine; ranging from farm animals and companion animals to wildlife and exotics. She established Centennial Animal Hospital in Bracebridge, which has grown into an AHA certified practice, as well as its satellite clinic in Gravenhurst. Mary has a passion for nature and a strong belief that our community, our country and our world need grass roots involvement in animal welfare and rescue. She especially enjoyed the experience of joining Dr. Wittnich in Florida when OERS was invited to participate in an ongoing USGS study of manatee in Crystal River, Florida. Mary is a recipient of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association Award of Merit for her work in the past with injured native turtles. She is past Chair of the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust and is currently a board member of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association. She is also on the advisory board of the Hill’s Primary Health Care “Smith Animal Hospital” at the Ontario Veterinary College and serves as a record reviewer for the College of Veterinarians of Ontario Complaints Committee
Dr. Luke Tan
Luke Tan obtained his MD degree from the University of Toronto and then went on to specialize in family and emergency medicine. He established his own practice in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in 2018. His ties with OERS began in 2007, Luke has been involved with many different projects while volunteering with OERS. He took over the role of Volunteer Coordinator in 2008 and has increased volunteerism in all aspects by recruiting and promoting volunteers. Luke is also very involved with the education and teaching branches of OERS, as he is a teaching assistant with all of the OERS run University of Toronto marine mammal courses and serves as a mentor for the OERS internship program. With a special interest in disaster response, Luke has trained and deployed on a number of OERS-DRD callouts. He is most proud of having helped with a horse rescue of over 200 wild mustangs in Nebraska, as well as rescuing stranded manatees from a culvert in Florida. “My fondest memories of volunteering with OERS are from the rare opportunities I was deployed on animal rescue missions. The amount of work done cannot be put into words, but the appreciation I got just by the look of these animals lets me know my effort is well worth it.” In 2009 Luke was made a member of the OERS Board of Directors and despite his busy schedule, he continues to serve in this capacity. Luke envisions OERS at the forefront of setting the standard for both research and education of marine mammals
Dr. Wittnich is a tenured Full Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Physiology at the University of Toronto, founding Director of the Cardiovascular Sciences Collaborative Program, and staff in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children. Outside of the University, she is a founding Director and Senior Scientist of the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society. University awards include those for outstanding research and teaching and she is the recipient of the Order of Ontario and Queens Jubilee medals for her service to society.