Jill Mellen is an education and science director at Disney who provides consulting services for The Lion Guard.

Early Life

Jill Mellen received her B.S. degree and M.S. degree in biological sciences from Illinois State University. She received her first job at a zoo at Miller Zoo Park, where she was a supervisor of the Children's Zoo. She later worked at the Oregon Zoo as the director of conservation and research programs before becoming a research biologist at Disney's Animal Kingdom.[1]


Mellen is now the education and science director at Disney. She and the rest of the Animal Kingdom consultants make suggestions and share information for the people working on The Lion Guard. Ford Riley, executive producer, regularly consulted with Dr. Mellen. She provided stories of the animals' natural histories and gave inspiration to the writers for new characters.[2] One suggestion that the Animal Kingdom team made to the Lion Guard people was the creation of a 'friendly hyena'. Mellen describes hyenas as curious, cute, and engaging animals, and wanted The Lion Guard to feature a good hyena. Hyenas moved into Disney's Animal Kingdom last year,[3] and Jill Mellen introduced the writers of The Lion Guard to two of them, Scooter and Zawati.[2] This eventually led to the creation of Jasiri, a kind and spunky hyena who helps out Kion.


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