Who We Are


Jana McPherson

Jana’s work at the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo focuses on community conservation and how local ecological knowledge can benefit wildlife conservation. She also has expertise in modelling species distributions, and in developing tools to analyse data that challenge the assumptions underlying most conventional statistical methods. Jana completed the International Baccalaureate at Waterford Kamhalaba United World College in Swaziland, a BSc in Applied Ecology at the University of Leeds and a DPhil at the University of Oxford.

Nafeesa Esmail

Nafeesa is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist with experience in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, especially interested in projects aimed to inform proactive policy and management dialogues (having led a global horizon scan of emerging issues in the illegal wildlife trade) and how business opportunities and entrepreneurial approaches can catalyse sustainable strategies in both the terrestrial and marine contexts for local communities. She has previously worked at different academic, NGO and government institutions including CORDIO East Africa, University of Oxford, Frankfurt Zoological Society, as well as within the private sector. Nafeesa is/has been involved in a breath of applied conservation projects, relating to sustainable agriculture, locally managed marine areas, illegal wildlife trade, human-wildlife conflict, circular economy and natural capital. She completed a BSc in Applied Zoology at McGill University and a MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London.

Typhenn Brichieri-Colombi

Typhenn is a Conservation Research Population Ecologist at the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo (currently on maternity leave) where her research is primarily focused on community conservation. She is involved with the data management and analysis of 4 of the community conservation initiatives with which the zoo is involved. She also has expertise in species distribution modelling, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and mixed-methods research. Typhenn completed a BSc in Wildlife Biology at McGill University, Canada, and a MSc in GIS and DPhil in Geography at the University of Calgary, Canada.

Steering Committee

Dan Brockington

Dan co-directs the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), at the University of Sheffield. He trained as an anthropologist at UCL, where he wrote his PhD under Kathy Homewood’s supervision. Dan then worked at the Geography Departments of the Universities of Cambridge (on a post-doc with Bill Adams) and Oxford before moving to Manchester (at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, now Global Development Institute) in 2005 and then Sheffield in 2015. Most of his research has been in Tanzania, where he has worked on livelihood change, natural resource governance, microfinance and institutional performance.  He has also worked in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. His broader interests include work on global overviews of the social impacts of protected areas, media and conservation, sectoral studies of NGOs and development data. He has also worked on celebrity and development, based largely on research in the UK.

Jessica Brown

Executive director of the new England Biolabs Foundation. Jessica’s work focuses on stewardship of biocultural landscapes, community engagement in conservation, and governance of protected areas. She has three decades of experience with community-based conservation, having worked in the Caribbean, Mesoamer­ica, Andean South Amer­ica, Cen­tral and East­ern Europe, and the Balkans. Prior to joining the foundation, Jessica was senior vice president of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment (QLF), where she was responsible for international capacity-building and exchange programs, and was a founding partner of the US National Park Service’s Stewardship Institute. A current member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Jessica chairs its Protected Landscapes Specialist Group. She plays a leadership role with several NGOs and foundation affinity groups, serving as chair of the board of Terralingua, vice president of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and on the advisory boards of New England International Donors and the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative. Recently, she has consulted with the UNDP/Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme and its Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation initiative (COMPACT).

David Macdonald

Founder and Director of WildCRU and Oxford University’s first ever Professor of Wildlife Conservation. Davids’ scientific background is in behavioural ecology, with an emphasis on carnivores, but as both the WildCRU, and the whole field of conservation, has evolved, his work has become inter-disciplinary. Themes as diverse as endangered species, invasives, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife diseases and payments for ecosystem services, all fit within the WildCRU’s wider aim. There is a human dimension to every WildCRU project and without the commitment and cooperation of local people, conservation is virtually impossible. The group engages in education, community involvement and practical action to deliver ‘Research Plus’. In addition to working with governments, policy-makers and NGOs, WildCRU has, for example, helped create a volunteer training scheme (part of which trains rehabilitated addicts in mammal monitoring), created a successful, funded internship training scheme, a business and biodiversity programme; run a climate change programme with Earthwatch and HSBC, and several theatre groups that ‘perform’ data, for example in Zimbabwe.

Andrew McVey

Andrew is the East Africa Wildlife Crime Technical Advisor at WWF, with various previous roles in WWF (Nairobi) and WWF-UK since 2009. Before then, he worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Malawi, Exemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.  Andrew holds an MSc in Conservation and Land management from the University of Bangor.

Axel Moehrenschlager

Director of Conservation and Science at the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo, Axel also chairs the IUCN Species Translocations Specialist Group, is on the United Nations Equator Prize Technical Advisory Committee, a Trustee of the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, and holds affiliations with the University of Calgary, Clemson University, and the University of Oxford’s WildCRU. Axel is driven by a passion to make a difference through: 1) The Conservation Translocation of endangered species to prevent local or global extinction; and 2) Community conservation to benefit both biodiversity and the livelihood of local people in developing countries. 

Yaa Ntiamoa – Baidu

Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu is a climate change, biodiversity & ecosystems services and environmental specialist, who has received a number of meritorious awards in recognition of her contribution to wildlife research and training in Africa. She holds a PhD in Zoology from Edinburgh University, a BSc degree from the University of Ghana, Legon & was appointed Full Professor of Zoology at the University of Ghana in 2003. She has served in various leadership roles, including as Director of WWF International Africa and Madagascar Programme and as Executive Director of the Ghana Wildlife Society, a conservation NGO she established in 1992. Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu was Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Founding Pro-Vice Chancellor (Acting) of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development [ORID], both at the University of Ghana. She is currently a member of the University Council and Founder & Chair of the Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana, Legon. Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu is also Chair of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA)-Ghana and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Neema Pathak – Broome

Neema has a MSc in Environmental Science and a post- graduate diploma in Wildlife Management.  She is a member of Kalpavriksh, coordinating the Conservation and Livelihoods programme. She is part of the team monitoring implementation of conservation laws and policies in particular the Wildlife Protection Act and the Scheduled Areas and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006. Her main area of interest is conservation governance, particularly Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs). She has been involved with documentation, research, analysis and advocacy related to inclusive conservation governance and ICCAs in India and South Asia. She has been part of team coordinating the National Community Forest Rights Learning and Advocacy Process since 2011. She also coordinates a local process of participatory conservation governance in Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra.

Bonnie Wintle

Bonnie is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne in the Interdisciplinary MetaResearch Group (IMeRG), which thinks a lot about how science is done, and ways to improve it. She is also affiliated with the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group (QAEco) at the University of Melbourne, where she has previously worked on the early detection of threats to biodiversity and opportunities for conservation. Her most recent postdoc before returning to Melbourne was with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at the University of Cambridge, where Bonnie scanned the horizon for emerging risks and benefits associated with rapidly changing technologies, such as bioengineering. She is still an active Research Affiliate of CSER. She completed her PhD in 2013, supervised by Prof Mark Burgman (environmental risk analysis) and Dr Fiona Fidler (cognitive psychology). Bonnie has a degree in environmental science and ecology, including some history and philosophy of science. Her doctoral thesis examined expert judgment under severe uncertainty, with a focus on reducing overconfidence and improving scientific judgements.

Dilys Roe

Working Group

Latoya Abulu

Latoya Abulu is an editor for Mongabay covering indigenous news, nature-based solutions to climate change and stories about high-value conservation ecosystems. As a field reporter, she has covered environmental issues impacting Indigenous peoples and local communities while reporting from Ecuador, Nicaragua, South Korea, Japan, China and UN conferences. Her work has been featured in The Diplomat, Asia Times, Japan Times, Earth Island, The Ecologist, the Venice Biennale and others. She has written a book on the importance of biological and cultural diversity in creating ecological civilizations titled ‘Harmony and Balance in the World‘. 

Thora Amend

Thora Amend works as a strategic advisor to the Euroclima+ program in 18 Latin American countries and is Vice-chair (governance) of the IUCN commission on protected and conserved areas. She is a trained ethnologist, geographer and linguist, with a PhD on integrated resource management. Her thesis focused on coastal conservation and development in Venezuela and the Caribbean, with local communities and governmental agencies. Thora has lived for many years in different countries in Latin America, and worked also in Asia, southern Africa and European countries, mainly for German development cooperation (GIZ), but also for NGOs, private sector, or teaching at universities. As a freelance consultant she co-founded “Conservation & Development”, a small consulting with a focus on resource governance, protected and conserved areas, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and nature-based solutions. She enjoys linking people and processes, local scales and national or system levels, but also creating synergies in the context of global conventions. Based on her integrated views on biocultural land- and seascapes, she develops concepts, conducts trainings, and carries out evaluations.

Ronit Amit

Dr. Amit designs incentives to promote coexistence between people and wildlife. Her research emphasizes conservation psychology for the integration of multi-stakeholder interests aimed to Community-based Wildlife Management. She completed her doctoral degree in the Human Dimensions of Wildlife Lab at the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Ronit coordinates the People and Fauna Program and its volunteer program, and as professor at the School of Biology at the University of Costa Rica, she co-coordinates the program on Environmental Interpretation and teaches interdisciplinary ecology.

Saloni Bhatia

Saloni is a conservation anthropologist working as a Programme Associate with WCS-India. She is interested in understanding how people share space with wildlife. Saloni loves working at the intersection of various disciplines and approaches. Her research examines socio-cultural drivers of human-large carnivore coexistence in the Himalayan cold deserts of Ladakh, India, the portrayal of leopards in print media as well as reviews of a range of conservation conflicts and mitigation. 

Michael Fabinyi

Michael Fabinyi is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. His research interests centre around the social and political aspects of marine resource management and use. Current projects include applied and academic projects on sandfish mariculture and coral reef governance in the Philippines, China’s role in global fisheries, the blue economy and small-scale fisheries across the Asia-Pacific. 

Terence Hay-Edie

Terence Hay-Edie is a Programme Advisor for the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by the UNDP, and Programme Manager for the Global ICCA Support Initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment. Since its inception in 1992, the SGP has provided cumulative funding of over $800 million to civil society organizations in 133 countries worldwide to tackle the inter-linked crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and land degradation. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Vera Horigue

Vera is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist interested in spatial planning and management, particularly that of marine protected areas. She is currently undertaking a joint research fellowship with Macquarie University and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), and is helping to develop spatial management solutions to help expand conservation initiatives in the Coral Triangle and WIO regions. Originally from the Philippines, Vera works closely with governments, local partners and communities to help improve conservation approaches and address various coastal and marine resource governance issues.

Razieh Ghayoumi

Razieh is deeply committed to aquatic and community research and is currently working as a Biodiversity Officer at the Research Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, Department of Environment of Iran (DOE). Her main work at DOE has been centred on marine and coastal conservation. For the past few years, her research has also examined how communities can participate in finding solutions to local problems to manage their resources. In 2013, she was awarded the United Nations-Nippon Foundation of Japan Fellowship. She was also a member of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and is a member of The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2015 – Present). Razieh has extensive and diverse experience in the social, biological and physical sciences, having a set of skills that would benefit a range of work environments and projects. She received a BSc Degree in Biology from University of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources of Gorgan, Iran in 1997, a MSc degree in Marine Biology from Tarbiat Modarres University, Iran in 2001 and a PhD degree in Marine Biology from Islamic Azad University, Iran in 2009.

Vainuupo Jungblut

Vainuupo is currently the Protected Areas Officer with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) based in Apia, Samoa. He joined SPREP in 2004 and spent eleven years working as the first Regional Programme Officer for Oceania for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Prior to that he worked with the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for a number of years focusing on environmental planning and nature conservation. Vainuupo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and History/Politics from the University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji. He is currently chair of the protected areas working group (PAWG) of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT) and a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas, WCPA-Oceania. He has more than 20 years’ working experience both at the national and regional levels in the Environment-Conservation field within the Pacific.

Shauna Mahajan

Shauna is a conservation social scientist committed to developing inclusive and holistic solutions to conservation problems. With an interdisciplinary background in resilience thinking, environment, and development, her work and research focuses broadly on the social dimensions of conservation, with a special focus on coastal communities. At WWF, Shauna develops and tests methods for conservation strategy development and evaluation, while also researching the science of decision-making, and the natural resource governance systems that enable positive social and ecological outcomes from conservation. She has a geographic focus in Coastal East Africa.

Meher M. Noshirwani

Meher is a specialist on conservation and environmental management, with a particular expertise in gender. She has a MSc in Sociology from the University of Essex, United Kingdom, and serves as Regional Vice Chair for Asia, and Chair of the Specialist Group on Gender, for the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP). With over 30 years of experience, her work involves empowering women and communities to understand the importance of the sustainable use of natural resources. She has a special interest in wetlands, mangroves, and fishing communities, and has worked with women in fishing communities along the coast of Pakistan, on issues of climate change, the importance of mangroves as a natural resource and their protection to coastal communities, awareness, training, and community mobilisation. Meher is also a Board member of Hisaar Foundation, which focuses on water, food and livelihood issues in Pakistan, and a founding member of the Karachi Conference Foundation, which spotlights the history and culture of the city of Karachi. She engages with different organisations, and individuals at all levels, and NGOs in different countries, provincial and national government representatives, civil society, and academia.

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy has a particular interest in ocean governance, indigenous communities and human rights defence. In 2014, she was awarded the United Nations-Nippon Foundation fellowship program with the United Nations. She did her research at the University of British Columbia – Vancouver that focused on strategies to be implemented to insure the sustainable management of the coastal and marine resources of Madagascar. She coordinated Madagascar’s LMMAs (Locally Managed Marine Areas) Network called: MIHARI Network until recently for six years. During her time at MIHARI Vatosoa won the Whitley Award by working to enable LMMAs communities. Vatosoa is now putting her coordination skills at the service of INDRI, a Malagasy think tank specialised in generating collective action and intelligence to save critical ecosystems. Vatosoa retains a very strong link to MIHARI and is currently the president of the board. 

José Antonio Sierra-Huelsz

Antonio is a Postdoctoral fellow at CITRO-Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico), Kleinhans Fellow with the Rainforest Alliance and an Associate of People and Plants International. Ecologist and forester, Antonio uses various disciplinary lenses and bio-cultural approaches to study and collaborate for local forest management initiatives in Mexico and beyond. His interests range from community forest management and governance, forest-agriculture interfaces, emergent markets for forest projects and traditional ecological knowledge. Antonio holds a B.Sc. and MSc. from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Dominique Bibaka

Victoria Buschman

Mohammad Farhadinia

Stacy Jupiter

Stacy is the Melanesia Regional Director with the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in Suva, Fiji. The main focal areas of her work include: evaluating effectiveness of locally-managed marine areas and integrated island management projects; undertaking spatial planning to achieve biodiversity and livelihoods outcomes; assessing downstream impacts of catchment modification on biodiversity and human health; and understanding drivers of resilience in Pacific coastal communities. She received a bachelor degree from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a 2002 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar (to the University of Queensland) and 2019 MacArthur Fellow.

Aidan Keane

Fred Nelson


Minu Parahoe

Jose Postigo

Previously, as a Conservation Research Population Ecologist at Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo, Jose was involved in the Community Conservation and the Conservation Translocations portfolios. He has experience in wildlife conservation with a focus in reintroductions and invasive species, including anthropological factors affecting wildlife management, as well as expertise with the Delphi method. He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from the Universidad de Málaga and the Université de Picardie Jules Verne, and a MSc in Biodiversity Management from the Universidad de Granada.

Sue Stolton

Alifereti Tawake

Additional Contributors

Leticia Merino

Leticia Merino has a PhD in Anthropology from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), a Masters in Population and Development (Jawarharlal Nehru University), a Masters on Sociology (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales), and studies on Forest Governance (Workshop for Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University) and Sustainable Development (Colegio de México). For more than 30 years she has taken part, as coordinator and team member, of research projects on socio-environmental themes, particularly on natural resources and ecosystem management by rural/indigenous communities, focusing on forest and bio-diversity use, commons governance and more recently on impacts of extractive economies on local sustainability and peace. She collaborated for 15 years, in research and teaching projects on community forestry with Dr. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Price on Economics, 2009.

Tero Mustonen

Tero Mustonen is a Doctor of Soc. Sciences and Adjunct Professor (Geography). Currently he is serving as a Lead Author for the IPCC AR6. He is the Chairperson of Snowchange Cooperative. Professionally he has worked in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, European North, Siberia, New Zealand and Australia on community-based conservation issues.

Madhu Rao

Madhu is a Senior Advisor and Representative of WCS in Singapore. She has provided technical, strategic and programme development support for WCS country programmes across Asia. She has broad experience with international protected area and wildlife policy and has engaged extensively with conservation planning and regional-scale conservation prioritization. She serves as Advisor to the secretariat of the Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP), an IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) initiative to catalyze conservation action for Critically Endangered species in the ASEAN region that is led by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS). She has a Master’s and PhD degrees from Duke University and is currently an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS). She has published scientific research on wildlife exploitation and trade, protected area effectiveness, human-wildlife conflict and community management of protected areas.

Danica Stark

Danica is a Conservation Research Population Ecologist at the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo, and has been focusing primarily on the mapping and remote sensing components in both the conservation translocation and community conservation portfolios. Before joining the Calgary Zoo in 2019, she worked as the scientific officer at a field research centre in Borneo, overseeing field projects on proboscis monkeys, macaques, orangutans, slow lorises and tarsiers. Her research interests have mainly been focused on primates and their response to human disturbances. Danica completed a BSc in Primatology at University of Calgary, a MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University and a PhD at Cardiff University.

Kristen Walker Painemilla

Contact the project coordinators: