Dr. Barbara Baker is President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, a facility housing over 6,000 animals and ranked in the top five zoos for families nationwide, with over 1 million visitors each year. During her 28 year career, she was a veterinarian at numerous facilities housing African and Asian elephants, including the Bronx Zoo, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Riverbanks Zoo. Dr. Baker has supported the vision, programs, and resources for the Pittsburgh Zoo’s elephant herd to grow from 2 to 10 animals, one of the largest in the U.S., including 4 successful births. The Zoo recently developed a 724 acres (290 hectares) property into its International Conservation Center (ICC), a conservation, breeding and education center with the primary focus on African elephants. The facility includes a 10,000 sq. ft. elephant barn that is currently home to 3 elephants, including “Jackson,” one of the most valuable breeding bulls in the country.
The Pittsburgh Zoo has developed a number of international partnerships for elephants, including a formal partnership with the Institute for Zoological and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, and a unique “sister zoo” relationship with ZooWuppertal in Germany, now a very successful ten year partnership. Dr. Baker is currently coordinating research efforts on African elephants in the wild in collaboration with IZW, ZooParc de Beauval in France, the National Zoo in South Africa, the SA Biobank, and the University of Western Cape, SA.
Tim is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio as well as San Antonio College. Prior to joining the San Antonio Zoo in December 2014, Tim had a 24-year career in the theme park industry, and has been part of the opening of several theme parks including Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Parque Plaza Sesame in Monterrey, Mexico, Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida and most recently Aquatica Waterpark in San Antonio, Texas.
He currently serves as the CEO and Executive Director for the San Antonio Zoo and its Zoo School, which will open in fall 2017 as the largest nature based preschool in the country. Tim leads a team of nine vice presidents who together oversee nearly 500 employees, 600 volunteers and care for a multitude of animal species, some of which are threatened or endangered. Tim’s vision to take the San Antonio Zoo to new heights began with investing $5 million into upgrading and renovating more than 100 animal habitats in his first two years. The most dramatic first improvements were the opening of a new home for giraffes, the addition of rain gardens both in the giraffe and elephant habitats, and expanding the African lion habitat. Tim serves on the boards of several organizations, including the International Elephant Foundation, San Antonio Tourism Council, UTSA Alumni Association, and Young Presidents Organization’s San Antonio chapter.
While away from the “office,” Tim cheers on the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Cowboys, and his favorite travel partners are his wife Jennifer and two children.
Mike Fouraker is the Executive Director of the nationally ranked Fort Worth Zoo and has been with the institution since 1993. Fouraker brings more than 27 years of elephant management skills to the IEF with experience in the elephant programs at both the Fort Worth and Knoxville Zoos. The Fort Worth Zoo’s Asian elephant breeding program includes two adult bull elephants and five females. Mike has served on the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ (AZA) Board of Directors and is an active Board Member on several conservation foundations including the International Rhino Foundation and the International Iguana Foundation. Additionally, he served as the coordinator for the AZA White Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), and is a member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
Brian Aucone is the Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences at Denver Zoo in Denver, Colorado, United States. Brian oversees all aspects of animal care, health, nutrition, behavior, and wellness of the over 2500 animals that call Denver Zoo home. Brian has participated in a variety of field conservation programs for elephants, greater one-horned rhinos, argali sheep, bats, and reptiles around the globe. In his time at Denver Zoo, and Oklahoma City Zoo prior, there have been significant advances for elephants in human care through innovative exhibits and husbandry programs. Brian also serves as the Snake Taxon Advisory Group chair for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a Lizard Taxonomic Advisory Group (TAG) steering committee member, a member of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, and a member of both Colorado and Southwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (COPARC & SWPARC). Brian has a passion for all species and how we can collectively work to save them across the globe.
Dr. Arne Lawrenz is the Director of Wuppertal Zoo, one of the oldest and most prestigious zoos in Germany caring for approximately 5000 animals representing nearly 500 species. He holds a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the “Freie Universität Berlin” and cared for animals both large and small before coming to Wuppertal Zoo as the elephant curator and veterinarian in 1998.
Dr. Lawrenz is active in research and endangered species conservation, focusing on non-infectious diseases in the endangered Black-footed cat, and tuberculosis in elephants. He is Chairman of the Veterinary Committee of the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria (EAZA), President for Zoo Animal, Wildlife and Exotic Animal Medicine of Deutsche Veterinärmedizinische Gesellschaft (DVG), Past President of the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV), and Veterinary Advisor for the Black-footed Cat EEP, Asian Golden Cat EEP, and Pudu EEP.
Frank Carlos Camacho is the director of Africam Safari Park, Puebla, México and President of the Mexican Zoo and Aquaria Association (AZCARM, www.azcarm.com.mx), Chairman of the Board of the Committee for the Recovery of Endangered Species (ECRES, AZCARM), President of the International Eagle Conservation Alliance (ECA, www.EagleConservationAlliance.org), Member of the Board of the Latin-American Zoo and Aquaria Association (www.ALPZA.org) and Vice-president of Watusi Watoto Safari Camp. Frank is also a Master Scuba Diver (PADI), certified Open Water Rescue Diver. (PADI), certified in High Angle Rescue, certified in Swift Water Rescue and certified in Cliff Rescue.
Charlie Gray brings more than 25 years of elephant experience as the Elephant Manager at African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada. Charlie Gray manages the largest breeding herd of Asian elephants in Canada and the largest Asian elephant herd in any zoological facility in North America. African Lion Safari has had more than 17 Asian elephants born at the park since 1991 and has had more second generation births than any other facility in North America. All of the calves born at the park – originating from 5 different fathers and 5 different mothers – are still living. Charlie is well known for his progressive elephant management program that utilizes elephants for display, education, rides and demonstrations. He is also well respected for his ability to manage multiple adult bulls in a breeding situation. African Lion Safari has been involved in many research projects including monitoring testosterone levels in males, semen collection, artificial insemination, and female Asian elephant hormone and urine assays. Gray is a founding member and past Board member of the Elephant Managers Association and a long-term member of the American Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (AZA TAG/SSP) Management Group.
Columbus Zoo Blurb: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been a supporter of the International Elephant Foundation for 20 years, and a representative has sat on our Board of Directors since 2000. They are committed to creating a sustainable future for elephants, both in range countries, and here in the United States. They display a breeding herd of Asian elephants and provide a strong conservation education message to their visitors. The elephant program is well-respected and constantly adapting to the latest advancements in care, and their herd frequently participates in important studies and research that will benefit all elephants.
Daryl started his zoo career in 1989 at the Buffalo Zoo. In 1993, he began working with elephants and has not looked back since. In June of 2006, Daryl became the Curator of Large Mammals at the Houston Zoo where his primary duties include the oversight of the zoo’s Asian elephant breeding and research program. The zoo’s elephant program is multi-dimensional in terms of its training and daily management. Daryl is one of the leaders in the Houston Zoo’s partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and research of the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV). Being a part of finding a cure for EEHV is one Daryl’s passions. Daryl is currently the Executive Director of the Elephant Managers Association (EMA) and has served the EMA Board of Directors in some capacity since 2000. Under Daryl’s leadership, this organization continues to grow with increased membership and the establishment of a webpage and merchandise sales. He has been an instructor at the AZA Principles of Elephant Management School since 2002 and a member of the AZA Elephant TAG/SSP Management Group since 2007.
Gary Johnson and his wife Kari are internationally recognized experts in elephant care and training, and are widely recognized for their contributions to elephant management and husbandry. With over 45 years of elephant experience, Mr. Johnson is well respected for his involvement in animal welfare issues and has served on the boards and animal welfare committees of multiple organizations. Gary and Kari are committed to helping find ways to diagnose and treat health and husbandry issues that affect elephants and to that end have raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund research. “We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to develop a dedicated and hard-working team of people who believe as strongly as we do in the importance of preserving this endangered species. Our lives are centered on a positive cause. We are devoted to promoting the health and welfare of elephants everywhere.” Most recently, the Johnsons founded The Preserve in Fredericksburg, Texas to educate the public about elephants. At The Preserve the Johnson’s Elephant Ambassadors continue to inspire visitors to care about elephant conservation through demonstrating the human-elephant bond. Because of this work and more, the Johnsons have been honored by their peers with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Elephant Managers Association.
Randy Rieches is the Curator of Mammals at the San Diego Wild Animal Park working with exotic wildlife for 30 years. Randy manages a collection of 140 species/subspecies of animals numbering over 1700 specimens. Species under Randy’s care include breeding herds African and Asian elephants. Mr. Rieches is currently involved in both in situ and ex situ conservation issues and projects affecting the long term survival of elephants. He sits on the Board of Directors for the International Rhino Foundation and is the SSP Coordinator for Indian Rhinoceros, Vice Chair for the Rhinoceros TAG and is involved in current relocation programs for Indian Rhinoceros in India. He also sits on Elephant, Antelope, Equid and Caprinae Taxon Advisory Groups.
Dennis Schmitt, DVM, Ph.D., wears the hat of a number of different organizations. As a professor at Southwest Missouri State University, he instructs his students in advanced assisted reproduction. While serving as a consulting veterinarian, Schmitt specializes in elephant medical and reproductive management to elephant facilities worldwide. As owner of Reproductive Resources, he operates an assisted reproduction program for the domestic animal industry. Schmitt is the leading elephant reproductive physiologist in North America and serves as a Research and Reproductive Advisor for the AZA Elephant TAG/SSP Management Group. He announced the first successful conception by artificial insemination of an elephant, an Asian, in June of 1998 and was involved in the subsequent first two successful artificial inseminations of African elephants in North America in 1998. Schmitt continues to perform inseminations with over fifteen additional conceptions to date. Schmitt also conducts workshops internationally to train veterinarians and wildlife specialists in the technology of ultrasonography and semen collection.
Deborah Olson is the Executive Director of the International Elephant Foundation. With 30 years of African elephant experience, she led the Indianapolis Zoo’s reproductive research program, which involves monitoring progesterone and luteininzing hormones of female elephants , correlating these hormones to reproductive tract changes through transrectal ultrasonography, which ultimately led to the successful insemination of two female African elephants in 1998. Olson has served on the AZA Elephant TAG/ SSP Management Group; the AZA Elephant Task Force; and is past Editor of the Journal of the Elephant Managers Association, is the North American Region African Elephant Studbook keeper, and edited the Elephant Husbandry Resource Guide.
Sarah Conley comes to the International Elephant Foundation as its Conservation Assistant after having had the opportunity to work with Asian elephants in California as a teenager. Conley has been working with and for elephants ever since. In the process she attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) majoring in Economics with minors in English Literature and Music History, graduating Summa Cum Laude and being honored with UCLA’s prestigious Distinguished Bruin Award.
Conley has been active in legislative and animal welfare issues, working to secure a future for elephants in a world where people are increasingly disconnected from nature. She is a nationally published writer and regular contributor to animal welfare and animal industry publications.
David R. Blasko is currently Director of Animal Care at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. David as past Director of Animal Operations at Six Flags Marine World, was responsible for all aspects of the care and husbandry for a diverse collection of more than 3,000 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates of the land, sea and air. Species in his charge included African and Asian elephants, killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, Pacific walruses, California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, Bengal tigers, mountain lions, primates, giraffes Magellanic penguins, hornbills, a variety of raptors, parrots and other birds, sharks, coral, warm- and cold-water fish and invertebrates, butterflies, white-throated monitor lizards and lesser anteaters, among others.
Blasko began his career at Sea World of Ohio, and came to the Six Flags Marine World park (then Marine World Africa USA) in 1982, serving as Elephant Training Supervisor for 20 years. A respected consultant on elephant care, training and safety for other zoos, government agencies (USDA/APHIS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Fish & Game, etc.), and to private owners, Blasko is past president of the national Elephant Managers Association and an instructor for the Principles of Elephant Management School of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association. He served on the steering committee of the Asian and African Elephant Species Survival Program management group, helping preserve elephants in zoos and in the wild.
During his tenure at Marine World, Blasko and the elephants in his charge participated in groundbreaking efforts to establish and refine artificial insemination techniques and procedures for African elephants. Scientific studies benefiting elephants in zoos and in the wild, including work with elephant foot care, dental care, ultrasonic communication, chemical communication, locomotion, DNA analysis, and pioneering veterinary care procedures including infrared light treatments were among Blasko’s cooperative research efforts at Six Flags Marine World. He presented papers on elephant care at numerous Elephant Managers Association and American Zoo and Aquarium Association conferences.
Blasko is on the Board of Directors of The International Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and a past board member of the International Elephant Foundation. He is past president of the Elephant Managers Association and a professional member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. Blasko holds a Wildlife Law Enforcement certificate from the California Department of Fish & Game.
Robert H. I. Dale, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at Butler University, where he was department head for 6 years. He teaches undergraduate psychology courses on animal learning and evolutionary psychology, and an honors course on elephants. In the past he has examined several aspects of animal learning and memory, and of human memory. Bob has studied elephant memory and social behaviors at the Indianapolis Zoo for over 10 years – with his students completing 4 Butler Summer Institute Research Fellowships and two honors theses. Dr. Dale has served on several committees and participated in Project Elephant at the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. His bachelor’s degrees are in physics (McGill University, Canada) and psychology (Oxford University, England), and his master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology were earned at Dalhousie University (Canada) and the University of Western Ontario (Canada), respectively. His postdoctoral fellowship was at Duke University (USA).
Dr. Freeman is an Assistant Professor of Conservation Studies in New Century College at George Mason University (GMU). Elizabeth received a B.S. in Biology from Vanderbilt University, a M.S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University. She is a behavioral endocrinologist whose interests involve conducting innovative research that generates data that can be used to enhance the reproductive success of endangered species and aid conservation management of both in situ and ex situ populations. As such, she has over 10 years of experience conducting behavioral analyses on a wide range of species from a parasitic wasp to elephants and rhinos. This includes experience conducting elephant and black rhino research in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Dr. Freeman is an affiliated faculty member to the Zoo and Aquarium Leadership graduate program, the Mason Center of Conservation Studies, and the Environmental Science & Policy department at GMU. She also holds a Research Associate position with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). Elizabeth enjoys teaching conservation courses and sharing her passion for wildlife while mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.
Gary Hayward obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Otago in New Zealand in 1972, where he developed the procedure of agarose gel electrophoresis for fractionating DNA molecules of different sizes. He then did postdoctoral research in Paris, Heidelberg and Chicago before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, where he carried out pioneering work on the molecular genetics, evolution and gene regulation of human herpesviruses HSV, HCMV, EBV and KSHV. He became a full professor in the Departments of Oncology, Pathology and Pharmacology in 1988 and established a well-funded multi-faculty Research Program in Viral Oncology where he trained numerous graduate and postgraduate students, many of whom have moved on to lead their own academic biomedical research programs in aspects of human viral diseases.
To say that Dr. Gary Hayward is an important figure in the elephant conservation and research community is an understatement. After a career studying human herpesvirus diseases, Dr. Hayward proceeded to become the leading “virus detective” carrying out research into understanding Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) and its impact on both captive and wild Asian and African elephant populations worldwide. EEHV was first identified in 1999 by Dr. Laura Richman under the tutelage of Dr. Hayward, and he has been researching this novel “Proboscivirus” branch of the herpesvirus family extensively ever since. Dr. Hayward and his team identified all seven known species of EEHV and the numerous highly diverged subtypes and strains of each through “genetic fingerprinting” as well as carrying out genomic DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Their work allows researchers to compare EEHV with similar diseases and understand more about how it affects elephants, facilitating the development of diagnostic PCR and serology tests and research into treatments and vaccines. It is safe to say that nearly all work being done to fight EEHV can be traced back to Dr. Hayward and his findings. Dr. Hayward has an expansive list of over 200 peer-reviewed publications including 25 describing his EEHV studies and can be regularly seen presenting internationally at conferences, sharing his expertise and experience.
Rob Hunter is the Manager of Regulatory Affairs with Provetica Animal Health. He received his B.S. in Animal Science from Angelo State University, a M.S. in Veterinary Physiology from the Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in Veterinary Pharmacology from Louisiana State University. Since completing his Ph.D. he worked as an Assistant Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University prior to joining Elanco Animal Health, here he held various roles in R&D and Regulatory Affairs.
He became the Chief Scientific Officer at Parnell and was responsible for R&D, Regulatory, Clinical Sciences, and Business Development. In his role at Provetica, Rob is responsible for all animal studies and regulatory interactions.
He has authored over 70 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, of which more than half are related to zoological and elephant pharmacology. He is currently a member of the Elephant Stakeholder Steering Committee on tuberculosis. He has previously served on the Indianapolis Zoo and Topeka Zoo Research Boards and as a reviewer for AZA CEF grants. Rob is also a member of the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology & Therapeutics and the Journal of Zoo & Wildlife Medicine.
Dr. Wendy Kiso is the Director of Conservation and Research at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Center for Elephant Conservation. She obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. She is a graduate of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College, after which she received a Master of Natural and Applied Science degree from Missouri State University. Dr. Kiso received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University in partnership with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is responsible for conducting and collaborating on all conservation and research projects towards the biology and care of the endangered Asian elephant.
Paul D Ling received a PhD in Microbiology and spent his graduate and postdoctoral careers investigating human herpesviruses Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) respectively. He continued his work on EBV and other animal gammaherpesviruses after moving to Houston and Baylor College of Medicine to start his own research program. In 2010, following the death of Mac at the Houston zoo from EEHV, a collaboration was established between the Houston zoo and Dr. Lings’ lab to address the devastating disease caused by this virus, especially in Asian elephant calves. Since that time, his laboratory has leveraged its experience and knowledge of human herpesviruses to combat the threat of EEHV in elephants.
His lab developed qPCR tests to detect all EEHV species known to be endemic within both African and Asian elephants. These tests are used for surveillance of elephants in the United States, Africa and several countries in South East Asia. With a grant from IEF, his lab used these new tests to show that elephants in Southern India shed the same species of EEHV found in captive elephants in the United States. His lab, along with collaborators at the Houston zoo, also used the qPCR tests to describe EEHV viremia, shedding, and associated changes in CBCs during the course of EEHV-associated hemorrhagic disease. Along with his collaborators at Johns Hopkins (Dr. Gary Hayward) and the Baylor College of Medicine Human genome sequencing center, his lab determined the genomic sequence of EEHV1A, the most deadly form of EEHV in Asian elephants, and also EEHV4. More recently, his lab developed an Asian elephant-specific IFN-g Elispot assay for the purpose of interrogating anti-EEHV T-cell responses and a novel serology assay that can distinguish antibody responses between different the EEHV types in Asian elephants. These tools have formed a foundation for developing and evaluating an EEHV vaccine, which his laboratory is currently focused on producing. Dr. Ling previously served as Secretary of the Epstein-Barr virus association and chaired the Microbial Pathogenesis and Cancer study section for the American Cancer Society. He is currently an Associate Professor (with tenure) in the Department of Microbiology and Virology at Baylor College of Medicine, a member of the EEHV advisory group Steering committee and is also an Associate Editor of Plos Pathogens.
As IEF Advisor and Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus expert, Dr. Paul Ling postulated during a recent interview.
Harry Peachey began his career with elephants at the Indianapolis zoo in 1974 and began working at the Columbus Zoo in 1976. In 1987, Harry was promoted to the Zoo’s Elephant Manager and Head keeper of Pachyderms. During his cumulative of almost 40 years of experience with captive elephant management, Harry has worked with both Asian and African elephants, including males of both species. During his tenure at the Columbus Zoo, Harry has traveled to both Asia and Africa, often in conjunction with in situ conservation projects that have received support from the Columbus Zoo, and has been fortunate enough to come into contact with both wild and “domesticated” elephants.
In April of 1998, he spent several weeks in Indonesia, a portion of his time in Jakarta meeting with government officials in both the CITES Office and the Department of Forestry. In April of 2000, Harry served on the Steering Committee for a meeting held in Bogor, Indonesia to review the problems facing elephant conservation in Sumatra. Since his return from Indonesia and his exposure to the difficult circumstances confronting both the Elephant Training Centers and in situ elephant conservation in Sumatra, issues which have been complicated by the economic crisis in Asia, Harry has been actively involved in fundraising to support veterinary care for Sumatra’s captive elephant population. Harry has also served as an elephant consultant to several other zoos. Harry served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Elephant Manager’s Association, and is currently a member of the AZA Elephant TAG/SSP Management Group.
Heidi Riddle is the co-founder and Director of Operations at Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, a unique Arkansas nonprofit organization dedicated to both Asian and African elephants. It is the first and only facility to accept any elephant in need, and to provide them with a peaceful, permanent refuge. The sanctuary is a well-respected international leader in elephant management, education and conservation.
Ms. Riddle developed and instructs at the annual international School for Elephant Management attended by elephant handlers from institutions worldwide. Ms. Riddle also co-founded the annual Elephant Ultrasound Workshop for wildlife veterinarians. In 2001, Ms. Riddle was invited to join the Asian Elephant Specialist Group of the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The group’s mission is to work toward’s conservation of Asian elephants worldwide.
IEF Science Advisor Biography Bruce A. Schulte 2020
Dr. Bruce A. Schulte is the Associate Vice-President for Strategy, Performance and Accountability at Western Kentucky University (WKU). He also is a University Distinguished Professor. For ten years, he was the Department Head of Biology at WKU. Previously, he was a professor at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia and before that at Providence College in Rhode Island. He received his B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary, his M.S. from the University of Southern California, and his Ph.D. at the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His doctoral work was on the behavior of the North American beaver. He studies with Dr. Dietland Müller-Schwarze, who was a student of Nobel Laurette Konrad Lorenz. Dr. Schulte conducted his postdoctoral work on chemical communication in Asian elephants with Dr. Bets Rasmussen. This team included organic chemist Dr. Thomas Goodwin from Hendrix College. After Bets passed away in 2006, Tom and Bruce continued to work together until Tom retired in 2017. Bruce Schulte also has a long-term collaboration with fellow IEF science advisor Dr. Elizabeth Freeman.
Dr. Bruce Schulte has been studying elephant chemical communication and conservation behavior for the past 25 years. His research has occurred at facilities housing elephants throughout North America and in elephant range countries in Africa. He had long-term projects involving graduate and undergraduate students at Addo Elephant National Park and the Associated Private Nature Reserves bordering Kruger National Park in South Africa, in Tanzania near Arusha and in western Tanzania at Katavi National Park, in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and currently in the greater Tsavo region of Kenya. The latest project brings together much of what we have learned about elephants and explores more that we need to know about elephants and farming in Africa to facilitate a harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants. Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya is the project supported by the Earthwatch Institute and IEF in which we are examining Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, deterrent methods (also in conjunction with Save the Elephants – Elephants and Bees Project), ecological correlates of elephant crop raiding, and elephant behavior (see the IEF video). This project would be impossible without the wonderful collaboration of Wildlife Works, a REDD+ program management and development company, their Biodiversity Director, Dr. Mwangi Githiru, and field scientists Bernard Amakobe and Simon Kasaine. We also collaborate with Dr. Urbanus Mutwiwa at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Graduate students at WKU (Lynn von Hagen, now a doctoral candidate at Auburn University; Sophia Corde) are instrumental in the success of this research as are the numerous citizen scientists involved through Earthwatch. Bruce is delighted to be a scientific advisor for IEF and invites everyone to contact him about his research on elephants or questions regarding research that might be supported by IEF.
Laura is an environmental lawyer-lobbyist currently serving as the Director of International Environmental Resources SPRL, located in Brussels, Belgium. Laura specializes in the field of international environmental law and policy, focusing on multilateral environmental agreements concerning in situ and ex situ conservation, international movement of endangered species, access to genetic resources, alien species, biosafety, and biotechnology. For over ten years, Laura has assisted companies, associations and non-profits to access and address issues of concern at international conferences including CITES, the convention on Biological Diversity, and the Aarhus Convention on Public Information and Participation in Environmental Matters. Laura’s work also includes providing assistance to institutes and organizations engaged in public display of animals concerning regulations and legislative developments in the European Community and its 25 Member States.
She currently serves as the Permanent Representative of the European Circus Association in Brussels. Prior to establishing her consulting company, Laura practiced law for 8 years with the firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.C. in its Washington DC and Brussels offices. With this expertise, Laura has represented the International Elephant Foundation for the last four years at CITES conferences and related meetings.
In addition to her law degree from the Marshall Wythe School of Law and the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, Laura has a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri, bringing a background in education to IEF.