Julian Fennessy

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.

Stephanie Fennessy

As Co-Director and Co-Founder Steph handles GCF’s day-to-day business. With an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure, she 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 – and her expertise is in project management and ranges from community based natural resource management to technical sustainability solutions. Since meeting Julian she has been involved in a wide range of giraffe projects across Africa and particularly enjoys the fieldwork component. She is a member and secretary of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group.

Naemi Antonius

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.

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 Ferguson

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.

Martha Haukongo

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.

Tom Leiden

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. Tom is the President of GCF-USA and provides invaluable operational support to help GCF grow as the leading organisation for giraffe conservation. Tom has been volunteering 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.

Arthur Muneza

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.

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.

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.

Emma Wells

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.


Michael Butler Brown

Michael is a GCF researcher and PhD student at Dartmouth College’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He currently studies the population ecology of the largest wild population of Nubian giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. Prior to his work on giraffe, Michael was a zebra guy; after receiving his Master’s degree in conservation biology from Columbia University in 2012, Michael managed the Laikipia Zebra Project for Princeton University in Kenya. While in Kenya, Michael led monitoring efforts to understand population dynamics of the endangered Grevy’s zebra; approaches that he now translates into a nuanced understanding of the interplay of Nubian giraffe population dynamics and spatial ecology. Michael brings a deep appreciation for both field research and applied quantitative ecology; seeking to integrate ecological understandings into meaningful conservation strategy.

Emma Hart

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.