MEET OUR TEAM
Wildlife Director of Humane Society International/Africa
Audrey Delsink Kettles is the Wildlife Director of Humane Society International/Africa. She oversees HSI’s wildlife campaigns in Africa, including work to champion the protection of wildlife including humane population control alternatives and human-wildlife conflict solutions, and to challenge the captive lion breeding and trophy hunting industry. She is also responsible for HSI’s Back to the Wild program, which facilitates the release of compromised indigenous wildlife, often through confiscations, back to protected preserves. She also manages campaigns including domestic dog sterilisation and vaccination programs to combat zoonotic diseases and their spread to endangered wildlife such as the African Painted Dog. Audrey has acted as the Field Director for the world-renowned African Elephant Immuno-contraception Program since 2000. She has been actively involved in both national, provincial and private elephant management, and together with the immune-contraception research team, has helped to shape policy and legislation regarding wild African elephants in South Africa, most notably through the gazetting of the Norms and Standards of Elephant Management in South Africa (2008). She completed her MSc biology on immune-contraception of African elephants (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa). She worked as the Research Ecologist at the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve for 18 years and together with her husband, she managed the 30,000 ha Big Five private nature reserve. She continues to oversee MSc and PhD research projects on protected reserves, with co-authorship on numerous peer-reviewed publications. Audrey is currently completing her PhD at UKZN’s Amarula Elephant Research Program. She explores elephant behaviour as the basis for developing conservation and elephant management strategies in public and private game parks. With her vast elephant conservation and management experience, she is a specialist member of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group. Over the years Audrey has facilitated the rescue, rehabilitation and release of numerous indigenous African wildlife species, including Ground Pangolin, Cape Clawless Otter, Caracal, Serval, Black-backed Jackal, African Wildcat, Small and Large Spotted genets and Barn Owl, to name but a few.
Zoological consultant, Curator, Director and Private Consultant
Peter Stroud is an independent zoological consultant, working internationally, based in Melbourne, Australia. He has extensive experience working as an animal keeper, zoo Curator and Director in both urban and open-range zoos in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. He has long held a keen interest in captive elephant welfare. From 1992 to 2001 he coordinated elephant management issues in the Australasian zoo community. From 1998 to 2003, as a senior Curator, he managed the asian elephant program at Melbourne Zoo providing technical input for the development of completely new elephant management facilities. In 2001 he was invited to join the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group and remains a member. Peter’s experience has led him to deeply question the viability of life in captivity for elephants. As a private consultant to zoos and animal welfare organisations he has worked in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, India, Ethiopia and South Africa. He has contributed articles to The International Zoo Yearbook and Zoo Biology, and opinion editorial articles on elephant welfare to The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Washington Post newspapers.
Director of Science, Research and Advocacy
Catherine Doyle is the Director of Science, Research and Advocacy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). PAWS operates three sanctuaries in California, including ARK 2000, a 2,300-acre natural habitat refuge for elephants, bears, and big cats rescued or retired from zoos, circuses, and private owners. Catherine has nearly 20 years of experience working on behalf of captive elephants in North America, with extensive knowledge of their health, welfare, and management, and expertise in captive conditions. She conducts PAWS’ public policy efforts focused on captive wildlife issues and has played an integral role in passing state and local laws protecting captive elephants. Catherine’s research at PAWS involves a behavioral study of the sanctuary’s African elephants – the ﬁrst long-term study of elephants in a U.S. sanctuary. Other research interests include keeper-elephant interactions and public perception of captive situations. Catherine has a Master of Science degree in Anthrozoology (Canisius College). She writes about elephants and the ethics of captivity (chapters in The Ethics of Captivity, Oxford University Press, 2014, and The Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018) and captive wildlife sanctuaries (Animal Studies Journal, 2017). She also directs Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife, PAWS’ education program for college students. Catherine serves on the Steering Committee for the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance and advisory board for The Whale Sanctuary Project. She organizes PAWS’ biennial International Captive Wildlife Conference.
Co-Founder and Trustee of Elephant Reintegration Trust
Marion Garaï has an MSc in Zoology, with her thesis on the “Social Behaviour of Elephants in Captivity” at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, based on several years of studying zoo elephants. She has a PhD from the University of Pretoria, South Africa 1998, with a dissertation on ‘The Development of Social and Stress Related Behaviours of Translocated Juvenile Elephants’; Marion has been a member of the IUCN/SCC African Elephant Specialist Group since 1994, elephant coordinator for the Rhino & Elephant Foundation – REF-during 1996, and acting Chairperson during 2000. She was the Founder of the Translocated Elephant Information Centre (TEIC) in 1992, which was incorporated in 1994 into the Elephant Management & Owners Association – EMOA – Of which she was Chairperson from 1994 – 2006. During that time EMOA developed guidelines for elephant management, which are now incorporated in the National Norms & Standards for Elephants. During 1996 and 1997 Marion undertook several research projects on traumatised juvenile elephant orphans at the Pinnawala Orphanage in Sri Lanka and co-authored a book on the study. She is Scientific Consultant of the European Elephant Group; She was Trustee of Space for Elephants Foundation from 2001 – 2020 and Chairperson thereof from 2005 – 2016; She is Co-Founder and Chairperson of ESAG- Elephant Specialist Advisory Group – South Africa since 2012; and Co-Founder and Trustee of ERT – Elephant Reintegration Trust since 2016. Marion is the author and co-author of several papers and books on elephant behaviour.
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF ELEPHANT AID INTERNATIONAL
Carol Buckley is an internationally recognized authority in the rescue, rehabilitation and welfare of captive-held elephants. For more than 45 years, Buckley has created innovative models of care for elephants in captivity. She co-founded and led The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the first natural habitat refuge for sick, old and needy elephants, for 15 years. In 2010 Buckley founded Elephant Aid International (EAI). She designed and built the first solar powered chain-free elephant corrals in Asia, where she also established foot care programs. In 2014, the Nepali government asked EAI to build 163 chain-free corrals at its elephant facilities, making it the first Asian country to embrace the chain-free concept. Buckley designed and oversaw the construction of chain-free corrals at Tiger Tops Resort in Nepal, the first private resort to go chain free and discontinue elephant rides and polo. More recently, she oversaw the development of 850 acres of land in Attapulgus, GA, for Elephant Refuge North America, the nation’s newest home for retired elephants from the exhibition and entertainment industries. She advises government agencies and NGOs on strengthening elephant welfare standards; teaches mahouts and caregivers humane methods of training, handling and foot care; and regularly trims the feet of working elephants in Asia.
Conservation Biologist And Environmental Consultant
Dr. Keith Lindsay is a Canadian-British conservation biologist and environmental consultant based in Oxford, UK, with over 40 years’ professional experience in natural resource conservation and management, and monitoring, evaluation and learning. This work for international donor agencies, national governments, NGOs and private sector companies has taken him to all parts of the world. Keith’s life-long involvement with elephants began in 1977 with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) in southern Kenya, and MSc and PhD research projects on feeding ecology and population demography. He has remained a Collaborating Researcher with AERP, focusing on ecosystem change, elephant ranging, and human-elephant co-existence. Keith’s professional work has included assignments in policy and practice with elephants in all regions of Africa and selected countries in Asia. His concerns include the international trade in ivory and live elephants, and the welfare of captive elephants in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He has written and co-authored over 40 papers, reports and popular articles on elephants and broader conservation topics.
Chairman of the Elephant Reintegration Trust
Brett Mitchell is an elephant expert specialising in captive Elephants in both the handling of and training of Elephants. Brett Mitchell is also an expert in the reintegration of captive elephants into a wild system. Brett Mitchell has been working with Elephants for the past twenty years. He has developed a successful re-integration model for captive elephants. He has achieved enormous success with the re-integration of seventeen captive elephants back into the wild. Brett Mitchell managed and operated a business in the safari industry which catered for elephant back safaris.
He is the Chairman of the Elephant Reintegration Trust which was founded in 2016. Brett Mitchell has recently served on a consultative panel for the South African Tourism advisory body. SATSA required the necessary expertise in order to develop guidelines and a tool for tourists so that they can be guided to support captive animal facilities that are ethical and legitimate and to avoid captive wild animal facilities that offer the commercialisation of human-wildlife contact. The motivation for the compilation of these guidelines is because many tourism businesses are feeling the global impact of the amplifying call to end animal interactions and to ensure South Africa’s position as an ethical tourism destination.
Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare
Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach is an experienced and enthusiastic wildlife veterinarian and wildlife trade researcher. He conducted his PhD on researching the use of thermography as diagnostic tool in elephants and the implications of captive conditions on the foot health of Asian elephants. He then was based in Thailand and Indonesia for over 10 years where he has led comprehensive research on the welfare conditions for the several thousand captive tourism elephants that led him to hundreds of elephant camps across Asia repeatedly. He has published several reports, papers and regularly speaks at conferences on the matter of elephants in captivity. Further professional involvement evolved around researching and curbing the trade in wild animals. It included contributions to ending the bear bile industry in Vietnam, China and South Korea, exposing unsustainable practices of the civet coffee industry, researching wildlife markets and rehabilitating victims of the illegal trade, ending bear entertainment in Pakistan and India and providing advice or support to other organisations caring for elephants, bears, primates and other animals. Jan works as Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare for World Animal Protection.
Elephant Specialists Alliance International
ESAI utilizes fact-based information, scientific evidence, and the voices of elephant specialists to stop the capture and export of wild elephants to ex-situ destinations and to end the exploitation of elephants in captivity