Mike Chase (PhD)
Mike Chase, (PhD), has been studying the ecology of elephants in Botswana for nearly 15 years, and in 2007, was the first Motswana to read for a doctorate specifically in elephant ecology.
Much of his childhood was spent in the bush accompanying his father on safaris. Eager to conserve Africa’s wildlife and wild places, Chase embarked on an academic career in conservation ecology.
After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Natal, he returned home to Botswana, where he spent eight years with Conservation International working to conserve the Okavango Delta and its rich wildlife. It was his passion for elephants, which, in 2001, ultimately led him to start an ambitious study on the ecology and movements of elephants. He received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts in natural resources and wildlife conservation. During his studies he founded Elephants without Borders to continue his lifelong endeavour.
Mike is continuously searching for novel and creative ideas for progressive research, which will impact conservation in a timely and meaningful way. He has provided new data on the status of elephants and other wildlife identified cross-border corridors, discovered new migration routes and has published his work in scientific journals, magazines and news articles. Presently, he is the principal researcher leading and coordinating the massive initiative of the Great Elephant Census, which will take place in twenty-one countries during 2014.
Kelly joined Mike on the project in early 2003, together they built EWB into a successful operating organization. Her enthusiasm for wildlife inspired her to a dedicated career in conservation. She began as a volunteer, monitoring and collecting data on a variety of wildlife species for several conservation projects, as well as, worked as a naturalist/field guide in Alaska, Central America, and South America. Kelly is a licensed marine Captain, and crewed for several years as part of the UNOLS fleet of oceanographic research vessels, including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The variety of projects she has worked with, have given her a well-rounded knowledge of field operations, organizational skills, and logistics.
Kelly oversees all of EWB’s project operations, supervises the office and Research Station, recruits new collaborations, and manages public relations. She participates in most aspects of fieldwork, is an aerial survey observer, and conducts the photo analysis of surveys. Kelly is a professional photographer and her work has been featured in a number of prestigious magazines, web sites, scientific publications and journals and news articles.
Robert was welcomed to the EWB team in 2012 and brought a variety of talents and experience. He has a range of projects under his belt, operating from South Africa to the Seychelles and has been working in Botswana for several years already. His research projects include a diversity of species from bacteria, vegetation, sea life, marine turtles, marine and terrestrial birds, meerkats to mongoose. His responsibilities include assisting in the coordination of field research, data collection and laboratory work and to help the collaborative student projects and supervise staff in the field.
Tempe Adams (PhD)
Tempe came to EWB as a PhD candidate from the University of New South Wales investigating human-elephant co-existence, focusing on elephant and wildlife’s use of small-scale corridors in an urban landscape and their adaption to increasing development. Having completed her PhD in 2016, EWB is proud to have brought her back to be officially part of our team. She is taking a lead in EWB’s community co-existence program and is extending her research to focus on data to be integrated into informed land-use management. Tempe also assists incoming students research.
Science and Data Research Fellow
Scott takes the lead on EWB’s technical analysis of the massive data bank EWB has been accumulating from our ongoing wildlife monitoring projects, compiling data and conducts statistical analysis. He has been instrumental on the Great Elephant Census and created new data analysis techniques and distribution maps to estimate the abundance and geographical distribution of the Continent’s savannah elephants.
Larry Patterson, Veterinarian
With over thirty plus year’s experience in wildlife management and an impeccable record, Larry is EWB’s chief wildlife veterinarian and has worked with our team for over 15 years. He conducts the immobilization (darting) of the wildlife and ensures the animals’ health and safety during the collaring exercises. He is also the integral first responder to EWB’s urgent response to wildlife in distress that have injuries due to human induced accidents and conflict.
Professor Curtice Griffin, Mentor
As a co-founder of EWB, Prof. Griffin from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is an important special adviser to EWB. Curt has been working to conserve wildlife for over 30 years and research efforts have spanned five continents. His conservation efforts extend from protecting open space in his small New England community, to helping state and federal agencies protect endangered species and wetlands, to helping other countries develop their biodiversity conservation programs.
EWB owes a considerable debt of gratitude to the many pilots, both fixed-wing and helicopter, who work with us on aerial surveys, tracking, wildlife monitoring and collaring work.
Fixed wing pilots: Mike Holding (Afriscreen Productions), Alexis Peltier (Air Adventures), Sven Bourquin, Jonathon Lea, and Tammi McAllister, Alan Parnass (Wings for Wildlife)
Helicopter pilots: Andrew Baker and Michael Drager (Helicopter Horizons), Mogomotse Gaebepe (Pyrus Eagles), Peter Perlstein (Okavango Helicopter)
EWB’s field support & staff have many years of varied bush experience. They are vital to the success of our operations and ensure comfort and security while operating in very remote areas, often under difficult conditions.
Gagoope Tsukotsuko is much more than the “camp cook” at the EWB Conservation Ecology Research Station. As a San, he adds a wealth of local knowledge, being comfortable in the bush for months on end. And despite his quiet yet personable demeanour, Gao manages to keep the station functioning in a professional, orderly manner.
Kabo Kakana comes from Kazangula, the 4-country border town, where EWB has their offices. He’s the newest member of the team but brings enthusiasm to participate and learn about conservation. He especially enjoys his time in the delta at the Research Station.
Keitumetse Masole “KT” is from Shakawe in northern Botswana, but now lives with his family in Maun when he is not manning EWB’s Research Station. As one has to be in a bush environment, KT has a variety of skills to maintain camp, but especially enjoys his latest talent, cooking. KT is passionate about elephants and finds pleasure in sharing the camp with the wildlife that visit everyday.
Shoni Nyoni came to EWB from Zimbabwe as an experienced farmer wanting to help in addressing escalating human-elephant conflict, so joined us to participate with our conservation and community outreach. Since then he has become an essential part of the team assisting in all the field projects when necessary.
Patrick Moyo also joined EWB to help with conservation and community outreach, but has expanded his skills in the field to help wherever needed. What he appreciates most being part of the EWB team is learning new things about the wildlife he grew up with and loves participating in collaring exercises.
Frank Nkiwani we admirably call “lucky man”, despite any rough conditions, he always keeps an infectious positive attitude and adds a sense of humour to the scene. He’s an excellent bush cook and thrives at trying to make everyone happy.
Gababonwe Ntema is our office maid but provides invaluable insight as to a local perspective on the complexity of humans and wildlife co-existing. She lives on the edge of Kazangula village & Forest Reserves and experiences wildlife at her doorstep regularly. EWB has spent several nights alongside her and the 8 children she cares for, ensuring elephants pass her maize crop without incident!