Bonnie Keith – Living Trust

Though her professional degrees are in education and cell biology, Defender's legacy donor Bonnie Keith has found a way to work with animals for most of her life. "I wanted to be a veterinarian," says Bonnie, "but in the late 1940s it was hard for women to get admitted, and priority was given to war vets."

So Bonnie entered the University of Wisconsin as an education major, where she took an extra-credit job in the lab of primatologist Dr. Harry Harlow. When Harlow was asked by the San Diego Zoo to send someone to help with the care of three gorillas, he sent two men. But the gorillas—who had previously been cared for women—would not respond to them. "So Harlow sent me," recalls Bonnie, "and eventually I was hired as a medical tech in the zoo hospital, where I cared for harbor seals, marmosets, even a kangaroo that needed dental surgery."

Bonnie left the zoo in 1962, completed a master's degree in cytology from Johns Hopkins University, and for the next 36 years helped run animal rescue operations in California, Idaho, and Wyoming. It was during the 1990s, while living in Buffalo, Wyoming, that Bonnie gained such affection and admiration for the wolves who regularly wandered onto her property.

"Wolves are such a vital part of our ecosystem," says Bonnie, "and Defenders is just unwavering in their commitment to protecting them." According to Bonnie, it's this steadfast commitment that first drew her to become a Defender's member, and later to include us in her trust.

Now living in Arizona, Bonnie is still working with animals. She is one of two regional rescue coordinators with the American Manchester Terrier Club—and she is still writing letters demanding better safeguards for wolves.

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Bequests left to Defenders are crucial to our ability to protect imperiled species and their habitats for generations to come. Have you included Defenders in your will or other estate plans?