FTB Board

The Board of Free the Bears Fund is comprised of long-term supporters from various backgrounds who use their skills and experience to collectively oversee the running and development of the Fund.

Mary Hutton - Founder and Chairperson

Mary Hutton is a grandmother who emigrated with her family from the UK to Perth in 1970. In 1995 she registered Free The Bears Fund in order to help abused bears throughout the world and for her work she has been nominated for Senior Australian of the Year in 2004 (finalist in 2006) 2007, 2008, 2010.



Matt Hunt - Chief Executive

Matt left the UK in the year 2000 after having worked in zoos and wildlife parks for more than 10 years. Pursuing his dream to help conserve the world’s wildlife, he came to South-East Asia and has spent the past 8 years developing wildlife rescue centers, training wildlife law enforcement teams and creating environmental education programs to increase environmental awareness amongst local adults and children. Currently based “out of a suitcase” somewhere in Indochina, Matt oversees FTB’s field projects in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as well as partnerships in India, Indonesia and Thailand.


Carol Curnow - Vice Chairperson

Carol has been a member of Free The Bears Fund since it first began. She is a retired schoolteacher and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She has watched the fund progress from a fledgling little group to what it is today and has worked closely with Mary. Over the years she has celebrated the incredible successes of the fund together with Mary, and she looks forward to many more.



Kate Fitzgerald - Committee Member

Kate has two Bachelor of Science degrees - one in Marine Science and the other in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. In 2002 Kate travelled to Cambodia to volunteer for FTB and hand raised a very cute 8 week old Sun bear cub called ‘Bebe’. Kate works for the Australian Institute of Marine Science as a Research Assistant and is very passionate about animal conservation. 


Pauline Cockrill - SA Support Group Co-ordinator and Committee Member

Pauline has been FTB’s Support Group Coordinator in South Australia since 2007 and joined the Main Committee in November 2009. She emigrated from the UK in 1992 and is currently an Adelaide-based writer and museum curator working for the South Australian government’s Community History Unit.  Passionate about animal welfare and an author of a number of best-selling books on teddy bears for collectors during the 1990s, she is delighted she can now make a difference to the plight of real bears.


                                           Trueman Faulkner - Committee Member

Trueman has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Parks, Recreation and Heritage and a Post Grad. Cert. in Captive Vertebrate Management. He has worked with bears for over 15 years and is passionate about enriching the lives of animals in a captive environment. He is employed by Perth Zoo as Supervisor of Carnivores and Ungulates and is a member of Perth Zoo’s Animal Ethics Committee. Trueman is spending 2010 volunteering with his wife and two young children through a Federal Government VIDA program to support FTB’s Hon Me site in Vietnam, working with the bears and their keepers.



Nola Criddle - Committee Member

Nola has been rescuing animals since she was eight years old and has always been committed to animal causes. She has supported numerous worthy causes over the years but found few that have the integrity and success of Free the Bears. Nola studied for a Bachelor of Arts in English whilst working in her company and raising 3 children.  She later spent 6 years studying for her Advanced Diploma in Homoeopathy. In 2007 Nola formed her own charitable foundation to benefit animals throughout the world, and she joined the Board of Free the Bears in 2009.