Matt Plichta
Matt PlichtaFounder & Executive Director

Matt got his lifelong fascination with animals at a young age while visiting a small zoo in Arizona and finding a connection with the big cats. This fascination led him to volunteering at several animal sanctuaries in the United States as a teenager, and even spent a summer working with tigers in Thailand. He eventually went to school for zookeeping at Cat Tales Zoo School in Spokane, WA, where he graduated with honors.

Upon graduating, he landed a job as an exotic animal trainer in Hollywood. Matt worked as an exotic animals trainer for Predators in Action, which trained animals for major movies such as Gladiator, Two Brothers, and The Last Samurai. Not feeling satisfied with his work in entertainment, he left to pursue his true passion of rescuing captive wildlife. After a brief stint working with wolves in Idaho, he moved to Colorado to find work with big cats. He was hired on as the Park Manager for a roadside zoo, where he worked tirelessly to bring positive change to the lives of the animals. Ultimately, his vision for the zoo was vastly different and he left shortly after.

In June of 2015 he formed the WildHeart Foundation, with the mission of improving the lives of all animals in captivity.