Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai, WildTrack
Zoe Jewell (President and Co-Founder). M.Sc. (LSHTM, London) MA., Vet. M.B. (Cantab.). M.R.C.V.S.
Sky Alibhai (Director and co-Founder) B.Sc. (Mak.) D.Phil (Zoology, Oxon.)
ConservationFIT is a WildTrack project, launched in 2017 by Drs Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai, in response to a global demand from field conservationists for non-invasive, community-friendly approaches to species monitoring.
Zoe and Sky, a veterinarian and wildlife biologist by training, founded WildTrack (501(c)3) in 2004 after living and working for 10 years in Zimbabwe and Namibia monitoring black and white rhino. While in Zimbabwe, in the early 1990’s, they collected and presented data to show that invasive monitoring techniques used for black rhino had negative impacts including the reduction of female fertility. Working with indigenous expert trackers, they developed an alternative approach – a footprint identification technique (FIT). Interest from researchers around the world who needed a cost-effective and non-invasive approach to wildlife monitoring sparked WildTrack.
Zoe Jewell has a B.Sc. in Zoology/Physiology, an M.Sc in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (London University) and a veterinary medical degree from Cambridge University. She is a consultant for Animal Consultants International on matters relating to wild animal monitoring and welfare and a member of the Society for Conservation Biology. She has published on wild animal monitoring using non-invasive approaches and animal monitoring ethics. She is currently a Principal Research Associate at the JMP division of the SAS Institute, an adjunct professor at the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, an adjunct associate professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, and an associate academic at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Sky Alibhai has a B.Sc. in Zoology from Makerere University, Uganda, and a D.Phil in small mammal population dynamics from the University of Oxford. He is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London and a member of the Society of Conservation Biology. He has published widely on wild animal monitoring using non-invasive approaches. He is currently a Principal Research Associate at the JMP division of the SAS Institute, an adjunct professor at the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University, an adjunct associate professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, and an associate academic at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Founding Partner and Project Manager: Louisa Richmond-Coggan, Ph.D.
I possess more than 10 years of progressive experiences. A mixture of in situ field-based research programmes and ex situ positions as part of international non-governmental organisations (NGO). The driving force behind my career path has been the desire to use the knowledge gained from scientific research and apply it to practical conservation management strategies. Every experience and qualification I’ve gained has developed my knowledge base, passion for conservation and love of wildlife. I understand the complexities of implementing multiple projects simultaneously which has then led to the successful completion of these projects. I have found that engaging with multiple stakeholders such as the local community, farmers, Governments, NGOs and corporate partners, is critical to the success of a broad reaching conservation strategy, its implementation and completion. I am passionate about large carnivore conservation and how communities can live and thrive alongside carnivores. The long-term conservation of carnivores needs to happen outside protected areas across the farmland and in turn finding new and dynamics ways to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
I graduated with a BSc Geography from Lancaster University (2004) which included a project in the Mara Triangle, Maasai Mara, Kenya looking at cheetah behaviour in relation to presence of spotted hyaena. My professional experience began as Programme Assistant for the UNEP-WCMC Protected Areas Programme and was followed by a position at TRAFFIC International as Project Co-ordinator. I was proud to be the course leader for the RGS-IBG remote camera trapping workshop for 3 years. My MSc in Conservation Biology was from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University and Kent (2006). My master’s research, which was in collaboration with a Darwin Initiative project and Friends of Conservation NGO, assessed wildlife distribution in the Greater Mara Ecosystem, Kenya by focusing on the effects of landscape variables and anthropogenic threats on four key species: elephants, lions, zebras, and wild dogs. For four years I was the Scientific Team Leader for the Earthwatch Institute on the project ‘Scavengers of South Africa’ collecting data on abundance of brown hyaena as well as mentoring and teaching new skills to volunteers. I completed a PhD at Nottingham Trent University on the comparative abundance and ranging behaviour of brown hyaena inside and outside protected areas in South Africa. During my PhD I developed and ran a regional brown hyaena research project across two Provinces of South Africa. The PhD research was conducted in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute, North West Parks and the Tourism board, as well as numerous private landowners. The thesis looked to understand the factors that affect the abundance and distribution of brown hyaena between areas of high and low human-wildlife conflict using GPS collars, remote camera traps, and questionnaires. As a researcher my responsibilities included: data collection, data management, time and financial budgeting, organising the day-to-day project logistics and problem solving.
My latest role was the head of Ecology and Community-based research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia. I was responsible for coordinating and driving all aspects of ecology and community-based research at CCF. I was involved in the development, set-up, operations and ecological studies such as carnivore distribution and mapping of conflict hot spots. I was also involved in data analysis, producing scientific publications, research proposals and grant applications as well as assist CCF staff and interns with project planning. During this time I successful completed projects as I am able to see and understand not only the ‘big picture’ but how to break a project down into manageable pieces and seek supporting partners and collaborative stakeholders as required to ensure that when all the pieces are reassembled the outcome is an effective and successful project.
I am a founder member of ConservationFIT having been integral to the collaboration of WildTrack, the developer of the footprint identification technique (FIT), with the American Zoo and Aquarium association (AZA) in order for baseline prints of African, South American and Asian carnivores to be collected in AZA-accredited zoos. As a field ecologist I know that we are always looking for effective population assessment and monitoring tools which enable us to collect data rapidly and in turn, inform our conservation management plans and I believe that ConservationFIT is just such a tool.
Founding Partner: Anthony Giordano, Ph.D.
Dr. Anthony J. Giordano is a thought leader in wildlife science and conservation with more than 22 years of experience working on the ground in at least 30 countries. While attending Texas Tech in pursuit of his Ph.D. in wildlife science and management, Anthony was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for his jaguar conservation work in the Gran Chaco of South America. His research there led to the first ever formal scientific investigation of the jaguar in Paraguay, contributed significantly to the country’s first Jaguar Conservation Action Plan, and led to establishment of the Chaco Jaguar Conservation Project, which today is the only long-term, multi-national jaguar conservation project across the vast endangered ecoregions of the Gran Chaco.
Anthony’s work has taken him into the wilds of Thailand, French Guiana, Australia, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Mexico, and Borneo, among other places, which has resulted in dozens of scientific papers and popular articles on threatened and endangered species. Anthony was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for Conservation Biology, serves on the Conservation Committee of the American Society of Mammalogists, and is the current President of the Wild Felid Research and Management Association. A former Panthera Kaplan Scholar, Anthony serves as an advisor to numerous international conservation programs and organizations and is an active member of three World Conservation Union (IUCN) Specialist Groups, including the Cat Specialist Group, Small Carnivore Specialist Group, and Peccary Specialist Group. Through S.P.E.C.I.E.S., Anthony has established more than 20 projects in 14 different countries over the past 8 years, the goals of which are often to better understand and protect carnivores of all shapes and sizes, from dholes to fishing cats, sloth bears to clouded leopards, and binturongs to jaguarundis.
Founding Partner: Karin Schwartz, Ph.D.
Karin R. Schwartz is a conservation biologist with over 20 years of experience in data management processes as applied to conservation within zoological institutions as well as for field research for endangered species. She holds a M.Sc. in animal behavior from the University of Missouri – St. Louis where she studied individual recognition through olfactory communication in prairie voles. She recently completed a Ph.D. in conservation biology at George Mason University where she worked on research to link in situ and ex situ data management processes for endangered species recovery programs through the use of Species360 Zoological Information Management System. As Registrar at the Milwaukee County Zoo, she initiated and led the development of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) records-training programs for use of Species360 software and continues to act as co-administrator of the Institutional Records-Keeping Course which is taught as part of the AZA Professional Training Schools. She has taken this course on the road for capacity building to other zoo regions, holding sessions for the 10th Congress of Asociación Latinoamericana de Parques Zoológicos, Acuarios y Afínes (ALPZA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation for their SAZARC/RSG meeting in Coimbatore, India and the Korean Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Seoul, S. Korea
Within the AZA community, Karin has extensive experience with population management and records-keeping as well as serving on Animal Data Information Systems Committee, Field Conservation Committee and Institutional Data Management Advisory Group. She has been involved in an advisory capacity to AZA population management programs as Registrar Advisor for the Tapir Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), Monotreme and Marsupial TAG, Cheetah Species Survival Plan® (SSP®), and Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo SSP®. In working at zoological institutions, she realized the necessity of collaboration with and participation in IUCN/Species Survival Commission Specialist Groups for effective conservation action. As Registrar Advisor for the AZA Tapir TAG, she became involved with the Tapir Specialist Group which effectively integrates in situ and ex situ specialists into holistic conservation action for tapirs. She contributed to conservation action planning through work on the Tapir Specialist Group Strategic Plan 2008 – 2010, on the CBSG team to facilitate the Western Pond Turtle Population and Habitat Viability Assessment, and as a reviewer for the Re-introduction Specialist Group’s Guidelines for Re-introductions and Other Translocations (2013). Karin has long been involved with cheetah conservation as a Registrar advisor to the AZA Cheetah SSP® and specifically with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) through her assistance with the International Cheetah Studbook, involvement in records training for CCF international and Namibian staff, and as an author for a chapter discussing the conservation importance of ex situ cheetah populations for an upcoming book on cheetah conservation and science. Recently, she was the Intern Research Coordinator at CCF in Namibia, overseeing intern duties for cheetah and dog care and records-keeping as well as for intern involvement in CCF’s Ecology Department programs.
General Enquiries: info@ConservationFIT.org
Project Manager: Louisa@ConservationFIT.org
or through ConservationFIT Google Forum.