Billy is a former American Naval Officer who developed a passion for Africa during a 2001 mountain climbing trip to Tanzania. He became a professional nature photographer in 2005 with the primary goal of advancing the cause of wildlife preservation on the African continent. His photographs of African wildlife are now used by a number of conservation organisations for public relations and fund raising. His images have won several international prizes and are widely acclaimed. His work has been published in Outdoor Photographer, Nature’s Best Photography, Asian Photography and Africa Geographic (American edition) magazines. His photographs have been displayed in the Muscarelle Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. He now leads photography tours to several African countries and writes about wildlife conservation, photography and a variety of other topics on his blog. He resides in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his wife Cynthia. Billy is an advisor to GCF and has provided many of the stunning giraffe images used in GCF publications and on this website.
Julian Fennessy, PhD
As Co-Founder and Co-Director of GCF Julian coordinates giraffe conservation as the technical expert. He is the Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group, the Conservation Advisor for the EAZA Giraffe EEP and has >18 years experience in species and habitat ecology, conservation and land management across the African continent (and Australia), and in particular focal giraffe related activities. His experience in the field of giraffe conservation is something few others can boast, from individual field projects, supervision of students, population and country-wide assessments, to expert advisor on subspecies conservation strategies. Julian has conducted numerous conservation expeditions across all regions of the Africa continent. Julian holds a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Sydney, Australia based on his work in Namibia – the ecology of the desert-dwelling giraffe in Namibia’s northwest. His diverse skill base provides a solid science and conservation foundation from which GCF can grow.
Emma is a PhD student at University College Dublin’s School of Biology and Environmental Science. She currently studies the population ecology of the giraffe of north-western Namibia, investigating a variety of factors effecting the conservation of this unique population of giraffe. With a background in psychology, Emma brings an understanding of animal communication and social dynamics which she applies to her research. Recognising the importance of an ecosystem approach to conservation, Emma also investigates the impact of other mega-fauna, such as elephant and lion, on the study population. GCF provides significant support to make her study possible. Emma is passionate about sharing the story of Namibia’s desert-dwelling giraffe, and as part of her research provides regular updates for our Adopt a Giraffe Programme as well as offering opportunities for conservation supporters to join us in the field.
Arthur is GCF’s East Africa Coordinator, a new role set up to bring together research efforts and partnerships to secure the future of the three subspecies that occur in the region: Masai, reticulated, and Rothschild’s giraffe. At the same time, Arthur is pursuing his PhD at the Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) laboratory at Michigan State University (MSU). Originally from Rwanda, he spent his formative years living and learning in Kenya, one of the most biologically diverse countries in Africa, where he nurtured an interest in wildlife ecology and conservation. With the support of the highly prestigious MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program Scholarship, which recognises outstanding young Africans who show commitment to the development and protection of Africa’s resources, Arthur mapped the regional variation and severity of Giraffe Skin Disease (GSD) in Africa and studied the spatial distribution of GSD in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania for this Master’s studies at MSU. For his PhD (supported through a Leiden Conservation Foundation Fellowship), Arthur investigates a variety of factors affecting the survival and reproduction of giraffe populations across East Africa. Through his role at GCF and his PhD research, Arthur intends to contribute to securing a future for all giraffe in East Africa.
Hayden is an experienced wildlife television presenter, safari specialist and educator who reports from some of the wildest and most scenic places on earth. His love of animals led him to become a Senior Keeper at Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia, where he first got involved with giraffe while hand-rearing one. He eventually left the zoo to travel to Africa and work on international rhinoceros, elephant and chimpanzee conservation projects. He continues to increase awareness about the plight of giraffe and promotes the importance and profile of giraffe conservation on the international stage. After nearly 20 years associated with Nat Geo, hundreds of hours of broadcasts and a true love of Africa, he periodically presents on Nat Geo WILD’s SafariLIVEprogram online and across the USA. Hayden combines an understanding of the nature of entertainment and his audiences’ interests with an exceptional commitment to conservation. He recently returned to his native Australia as head of Guest Experience, People and Programs at the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Hayden’s philosophy is that the most effective approach to conservation is through education, technology and inspiring people to care for the planet coupled with understanding people’s different perceptions of wildlife. Giraffe have been part of his life for nearly 30 years and he is excited to support GCF moving forward.