As Co-Director and Co-Founder of GCF Julian coordinates all giraffe conservation efforts 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 >20 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 national conservation strategies and action plans. Julian has conducted numerous conservation expeditions across all regions of the Africa continent, and worked with all giraffe species and subspecies. Julian holds a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Sydney, Australia based on his initial 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.
As Co-Director and Co-Founder Steph handles GCF’s day-to-day business, including liaison with conservation partners throughout the world and fundraising. With an MSc in Environmental Engineering, she is a skilled and experienced environmental manager who has successfully worked in diverse working cultures and multi-disciplinary teams within the private, Government and NGO sector on three continents – Africa, Australia and Europe. Her her expertise is in project management and ranges from community based natural resource management to technical sustainability solutions. Steph continues to be hands-on involved in a wide range of giraffe projects across Africa and particularly enjoys spending time in the field. She is a member and secretary of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group.
Naemi is the Senior Environmental Educator for the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management (Nature Conservation) from the Namibian University of Science and Technology. Before joining GCF as an intern in 2016, she did an internship with the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) where she developed a keen interest in environmental education. Naemi loves nature and all living things, but her real passion is for plants.
Katie joined GCF in late 2019 as researcher on our long-term conservation monitoring programme in north-western Namibia. Katie comes from a zoo keeping background, specialising in giraffe, and also has experience in animal research. After joining GCF on a field research trip she fell in love with giraffe conservation and the rest is history. In her free time Katie enjoys karaoke and photography.
Michael Butler Brown
Michael is a conservation ecologist and a joint fellow with GCF and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Michael brings a passion for conservation and a wealth of experience in both field research and applied quantitative ecology; seeking to integrate nuanced ecological perspectives into meaningful conservation strategy. Prior to working with GCF, Michael earned a master’s degree in conservation biology from Columbia University, studying the movement ecology of the endangered Grevy’s Zebra. He then spent years of fieldwork as a project manager for Princeton University’s Laikipia Zebra Project in Kenya, honing bushcraft and field skills in pursuit of ecological understandings. For his subsequent PhD research with Dartmouth College and supported by GCF, Michael spent five years studying multi-scale effects of changing resource distribution on giraffe ecology in Uganda. Combining long-term non-invasive photographic surveys, GPS telemetry, behavioural observations and monitoring of vegetation dynamics, Michael worked to design a nation-wide conservation science programme for giraffe in Uganda. As a conservation science fellow, Michael will be working to advance GCF’s missions of informing conservation initiatives with the most rigorous science available.
Petrus ‘Audi’ Ekandjo
Audi joined GCF in mid 2018 and works as Environmental Educator in the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Audi loves nature and keen to share this passion with others, hence his interest in environmental education. Audi grew up in the northern part of Namibia and is keen to further his knowledge about the Namibian environment and in particular large animals. His hobbies include travelling and he enjoys camping on weekends.
Sara recently joined the GCF team as the Uganda Conservation Coordinator. Sara is a wildlife conservation veterinarian, having graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. Sara has always had a passion for African wildlife and has taken every opportunity to travel around the continent and gain knowledge and experience in wildlife medicine. In 2016, she participated in the Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife Course in Malilangwe, Zimbabwe, graduating at the top of her class. In Uganda, Sara coordinates GCF’s giraffe conservation activities with a focus on Murchison Falls National Park where she monitors for and treats giraffe (and other wildlife) with snare injuries together with an incredible and dedicated team of rangers and wildlife veterinarians from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Additionally, she works alongside local stakeholders to investigate avenues to reduce poaching incidents in the park. Sara is an associate researcher for Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Florida, who generously sponsor her position.
Claire joined GCF in September 2019 as an Admin Assistant to provide some administrative support to the entire GCF team. Claire is working hard to provide the entire team with a little relief from the mundane tasks and allow them to focus on saving giraffe in the wild. An Aussie by birth, Claire arrived in Windhoek in 2007 and has called Namibian home ever since. During the past 12 years, Claire has worked in the tourism industry with a keen focus on sustainable tourism practices. Claire is now looking forward to developing a greater understanding of nature conservation as the two often go hand in hand. In her spacetime, Claire enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs, either on foot or bicycle, exploring the Namibian bush.
Martha works as Environmental Educator in the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Martha was born and raised in northern Namibia. She is passionate about the environment and conservation and has a special interest in understanding animal behaviour in particular in relation to human-wildlife conflict. In her spare time, Martha enjoys watching nature documentaries and currently pursues a BSc in English.
Livingstone ‘Livi’ Hoda
Based in Zimbabwe, Livi supports GCF’s activities across the country. He started his career as a tracker and driver for safari companies in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Most recently he worked with a film company, travelling the continent to document human-wildlife conflict. Livi is passionate about conservation and wildlife. He wants to make a contribution so his children will still be able to experience vast numbers of wildlife when they grow up. Livi’s position is supported by the Ivan Carter Conservation Wildlife Alliance.
Till grew up along the Alaska Highway in Northern British Columbia (Canada) where his passion for the outdoors and wildlife was sparked at a young age. When he visited Steph and Julian in Namibia in 2010, he became interested in giraffe and has followed and supported the work of GCF ever since. Till’s educational background includes a BA in Philosophy from the University of Victoria in Canada, an MSc in Engineering from Linköping University in Sweden, and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, USA. He currently lives in the Houston area with his wife and son where he is a Vice President and General Manager with Crane Co. Till has worked globally for several multi-national companies including Eaton and Alstom, and his career includes roles in general management, supply chain management, operations, new product development and information systems. Till’s skills will help GCF to grow as an organisation in his role as the Chair of the Board. Outside of work Till enjoys good food, running, skiing, cycling and photography.
Chris is an active multi disciplinary designer and creative from the Greater New York City area. Chris studied and graduated from The Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn New York and has worked in advertising since. In 2018 Chris joint GCF for a one-month volunteer placement through The International Exchange when he helped GCF develop its brand voice. He was inspired by Julian and Steph’s passion for giraffe and has supported GCF by designing collateral ever since.
Tom first met Julian Fennessy at the Zoos & Aquarium Committing to Conservation conference in 2013. Enthused by his passion for giraffe and their conservation, Tom has joined GCF in the field in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda. Tom, his wife Kathy and Leiden Conservation Foundation have become key supporters of our giraffe conservation work. As the previous President of the GCF Board Tom has provided invaluable operational support to help GCF grow as the leading organisation for giraffe conservation. Tom has volunteered for wildlife conservation organisations for over 30 years while working for the family manufacturing company, Leiden Cabinet Company. Tom is currently a Trustee of the Cleveland Zoological Society and supportive of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo field conservation programme. Tom continues to make an impact on the GCF Board.
As GCF’s East Africa Coordinator, Arthur heads up the Nairobi office. He brings together research efforts and partnerships to secure the future of the three species that occur in the region: Masai, Nubian and Reticulated giraffe. 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 GCF’s support, Arthur is pursuing his PhD at the Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) laboratory at Michigan State University. 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.
David is a researcher at San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research. He works with local partners and collaborators around the world in developing applied community-led conservation and research programmes to produce sustainable initiatives that benefit local people, livestock and wildlife, and allow for co-existence into the future. For his MSc, David studied reticulated giraffe in Kenya and in 2015 he founded and now co-leads the SDZG and GCF’s Twiga Walinzi (Giraffe Guards) Reticulated Giraffe Conservation Programme With Pastoralists in northern Kenya. David earned his BSc in Zoology and Earth Science from University College Cork (Ireland), his graduate diploma in Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business at University College (Dublin) and his MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Michigan (USA). He is currently pursuing his PhD at Senckenberg Biodiversity & Climate Research Centre and Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. David is also a consultant researcher for National Geographic Magazine, and a member of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group and the IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group. He is involved in several GCF programmes throughout Africa and brings sound giraffe conservation knowledge to the GCF Board.
Matthew Muruana Wachira
Matthew works as a research assistant supporting GCF’s East Africa programmes. With a BSc in Range Management from the University of Nairobi, Matthew is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management at the same University with the support of GCF. For his Master’s research, Matthew is conducting a population and habitat viability analysis of Nubian giraffe in Kenya. Matthew has a special interest in the spatial ecology of giraffe in East Africa and is passionate about improving Kenya’s environmental conditions as well as helping to improve the livelihood of pastoral communities in the rangelands.
Cloé Pourchier, Razack Moussa Zabeirou & Souley Kouato Larwanou
Souley, Cloé and Razack are GCF’s Niger team. As accountant Souley is responsible for finances, while Razack and Cloé work as programme officers. All three positions are shared with our partners Sahara Conservation Fund. Based in Niamey the capital city of Niger, they are located about 60 km from the last viable population of West African giraffe. Working closely with the Nigerien government and local authorities, they are supporting most of the giraffe activities in the country; from the annual census to awareness raising among local communities. Apart from giraffe, they are also dedicated to saving the existing Sahelo-Saharian wildlife and key habitats as well as to reintroducing and restoring lost species through a partnership with the Sahara Conservation Fund. The team is passionate about Niger and its wildlife, and are either born and bred in Niger or spent the majority of their life in the country. Their differences in cultural, education and skill make them a very effective and resourceful team, and a valuable asset to GCF.
Penelope ‘Melle’ Orford
Melle graduated cum laude from Natal University’s Centre for Environment and Development, specialising in Biodiversity Conservation. When working as manager of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Poison Working Group to curb wildlife losses from poisoning, her previous six years’ experience in cattle farming in the pro Kalahari of Namibia gave Melle credibility working with farmers across Southern Africa. In 1998, Melle moved back to Namibia where she met Julian and Steph as they were all working at the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia. Melle also taught ecology at the Namibian University of Science and Technology, did EIAs and EMPs throughout Namibia, and has been actively involved with urban conservation as chairperson of Greenspace for the past 15 years. She has a strong interest in wildlife conservation, is a keen birder and has a special interest in indigenous gardens and in wine. Her conservation background combined with a sound sense for business in Africa make Melle a valuable asset to the GCF Board.
Maria Pimenta Shaetonhodi
Maria is the Finance & Operations Manager of GCF based in Windhoek, Namibia. Born in Luanda, Angola, Maria has lived in Namibia since 2005. Maria has extensive finance experience in the Namibian NGO sector including managing local and international donors funding from USAID, EU, NORAD, etc. She is enrolled with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town in South Africa for a MSc in Development Finance. She is passionate about numbers and enjoys contributing to improved livelihoods of local communities and wildlife conservation across Africa.
Lindy van den Bosch
South African by birth, Lindy holds a Commerce Degree and is a chartered accountant who has worked in finance across Southern Africa. With a love for the African bush, Lindy is also an experienced nature guide with a special interest in birding. From her adopted home in Windhoek, the busy mother of two boys now runs a successful lodge management company in Namibia together with her husband. Lindy has travelled extensively in Southern Africa, Europe and the USA and is an accomplished endurance athlete: swimming, running, cycling – you name it! With her head firmly on her shoulders and sound financial management competence, she brings important finance skills and scrutiny to the GCF Board.
Emma joined GCF in Namibia in early 2018 and now works as a researcher on the long-term conservation monitoring programme in north-western Namibia. When not in the field, Emma provides support to all aspects of GCF’s work in the office. Emma comes from a zoo background with over 15 years of experience and has been involved in various field conservation projects with endangered local wildlife in her native New Zealand.
Emma is a GCF researcher and 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 affecting 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.