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Who we are
CYNTHIA MOSS ► Program Director and Trustee, ATE. Born and educated in the U.S.A., Cynthia Moss moved to Africa in 1968 and has spent the past 39 years there studying elephants and working for their conservation. Her involvement with elephants began in Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania where she worked with Iain Douglas-Hamilton on his pioneering elephant study. In 1972, with Harvey Croze, she started the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) in Kenya which she continues to direct. Her studies have concentrated on the distribution, demography, population dynamics, social organization and behavior of the Amboseli elephants. In 2001 she created the Amboseli Trust for Elephants in both Kenya and the USA. Her present activities include: overall direction of ATE which includes: research and monitoring; training elephant researchers from African elephant range states; outreach to the Maasai community in Amboseli; disseminating scientific results; networking with other elephant scientists and conservation in Africa and Asia; and promoting public awareness by writing popular articles and books and by making films about elephants. Moss is the author of four books: Portraits in the Wild (University of Chicago Press); Elephant Memories (University of Chicago Press); Echo of the Elephants (William Morrow); Little Big Ears (Simon & Schuster); and co-author with Laurence Pringle of Elephant Woman (Atheneum). She has written numerous popular and scientific articles and has made four award-winning TV documentaries about elephants.
HARVEY CROZE ► Trustee & Senior Program Advisor, Chief Pilot & Clerk of Works. A behaviorist and ecologist with four decades of experience in African ecosystems. He began study of evolutionary biology at Amherst College, obtained doctorate on animal behavior at Oxford University. He worked for Tanzanian National Parks as elephant ecologist in the Serengeti in the late '60s studying the interaction between elephants and the woodlands. With Cynthia Moss he established the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in 1972. From 1972 to 1976 he lectured in the Zoology Department of the University of Nairobi and supervised MSc and PhD students in a graduate Biology of Conservation programme. In the mid-70s he was the ecologist on the UNEP/FAO/GoK Kenya Wildlife Management Project that devised a wildlife utilisation fund for Kajiado District to offset landowner opportunity costs. His last posting was Assistant Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, with responsibility for global environmental monitoring and assessment. He has written numerous papers, reports and books, including recently Pyramids of Life (with John Reader; Harvill), The Great Wildebeest Migration (with Carlo Mari; Harvill) and Africa for Kids (Chicago Review Press).
SOILA SAYIALEL ► Trustee and AERP Deputy Director. Soila was born in 1963 in Oloitokitok, just 15 km (9 mi) from Amboseli National Park. She attended Oloitokitok High School. In September 1986 she joined the ATE as a research assistant for the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. From the outset she was responsible for monitoring of the elephants and assisting the studies of visiting scientists. In 1994 Soila was promoted to the position of Project Manager, with responsibility for the supervision of the ATE field assistants, the ATE Maasai Elephant Scouts, and the Elephant Research Camp staff. She gives lectures to visitor groups, runs the ATE Consolation Scheme, and is ATE’s liaison with Kenya Wildlife Service, NGOs, the local community, and other stakeholders. She is an ATE Trustee, the Chairperson of the Amboseli Lion Conservation Fund, on the Executive Committee and Board of the Amboseli-Tsavo Group Ranch Association, and holds membership in the Amboseli Park Management Committee Board, the Ministry of Health Loitokiok District, the District Liaison Group and the Conflict Resolution Committee. Soila is also Trustee of Amboseli Ecosystem Trust and in early 2008, she was made an Honorary Warden of Amboseli National Park. Soila is joint author of several scientific papers and conservation reports. She became AERP Deputy Director in July 2009.
NORAH NJIRAINI ► Research Assistant & Training Officer. Norah was born in 1961 in Kiambu, Kenya. She attended Lolobon Secondary School in Ol Loitokitok, Kenya. In March 1985 she joined ATE as research assistant to Joyce Poole. Since then Norah has acted as the field assistant to numerous PhD students, post-doctoral students and visiting scientists on studies of elephant social behavior, communication, genetics, leadership, cognition, growth, development and human-elephant conflict. Norah is primarily responsible for the monitoring of the Amboseli elephants including regular collection of group sightings data, estrous and musth records and censuses of families and independent males, and the collection of identification pictures. In 1995 Norah became ATE’s Training Coordinator and has trained scores of individuals in elephant monitoring techniques. Her trainees include community Maasai scouts, students of elephant biology and wildlife managers from around Africa including several leading Kenya Wildlife Service officers.
KATITO SAYIALEL ► Research Assistant. Katito was born in 1972 in Loitokitok. She attended Ilkisongo Secondary School in Ol Loitokitok, Kenya. In 1992 she joined ATE as a research assistant. Since then, Katito has served as the field assistant to many PhD students, post-doctoral students and visiting scientists on elephant studies, including social behavior, communication, genetics, leadership, cognition, growth, development and human-elephant conflict. Katito assists in the monitoring of the Amboseli elephants including the regular collection of group sightings data, estrous and musth records, along with censuses of families and independent males, and the collection of identification pictures. She assists Norah in the training of individuals in elephant monitoring techniques.
VICKI FISHLOCK ► AERP Researcher. A behavioural ecologist, Vicki joined ATE in Jan 2011 having worked in the Republic of Congo since 2004 studying gorillas and forest elephants. She first travelled to Africa in 2001 and completed short projects in Tanzania and Uganda during summer vacations from her Zoology Degree at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, she moved to the Republic of Congo as a research assistant at the Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study. Whilst in the forest, she developed the ideas for her PhD research, examining forest elephant sociality and the roles natural forest clearings (“bais”) play in forest elephant social systems. She completed her PhD under the supervision of Phyllis Lee at the University of Stirling. Her work at ATE with support from IFAW focuses survivors of the 2008-09 drought and the social and reproductive consequences of matriarch loss in elephant families. Vicki also continues to work in Central Africa, training National Researchers in Gabon, Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
PURITY WAWERU ► Administrative Officer, ATE-Nairobi. Purity handles all of our administrative matters from our small office at Langata Link, just outside of Nairobi. She makes certain that everything runs smoothly and efficiently with enormous skill and energy.
BETSY SWART ► Executive Director, ATE-USA. Betsy holds graduate degrees in American studies and environmental science and has taught at Case-Western Reserve University and the University of Maryland. In addition to nearly two decades of experience in animal advocacy, she has published articles in a wide variety of magazines and newsletters; has attended many international conservation meetings, such as CITES; and has prolific experience in organizing fundraisers and public relations events. She worked with ATE, as a volunteer and as a program director, for more than two years prior to being appointed executive director.
PHYLLIS LEE ► Scientific Advisory Panel member; AERP Researcher. Phyllis Lee has a chair in psychology at the University of Stirling, having been for many years a reader at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has been carrying out field research on animal behaviour since 1975, and has been part of AERP since 1982. She has collaborated with a number of researchers working on forest elephants, and primates from around the world. She is the author of one book, four edited volumes, 35+ primary journal publications, 30+ chapters in edited volumes. She works with conservation attitudes and community conservation projects, as well as human-wildlife interactions.
KEITH LINDSAY ► Scientific Advisory Panel member; AERP researcher. Keith Lindsay is a conservation biologist and project manager with the Environment & Development Group (EDG) in Oxford, with over 30 years’ professional experience. He has undertaken or managed projects in biodiversity research and conservation, protected area monitoring and management, environmental assessment, land use planning, information systems and institutional analysis in the Middle East, South-East Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and all parts of Africa. His involvement with elephants dates back to 1977, when he joined AERP. Beginning by building second-hand radio-collars and monitoring vegetation plots, his work led to MSc and PhD research projects on feeding ecology, habitat interactions and population demography, and more recently the analysis of ecosystem change with Geographic Information Systems. A past member of the African Elephant Specialist Group, he maintains his research interests in the conservation of African elephants, with particular reference to population management, ivory trade and welfare issues. Recently, he has worked on elephant conservation in relation to CITES – including the links between culling and financial aspects of the ivory trade, consultations by the South African government on culling policy in Kruger National Park and helping Kenya Wildlife Service develop its national elephant strategy.
JOYCE POOLE ► Scientific Advisory Panel member; AERP researcher. Joyce was born in 1956 in Germany of American parents and spent most of her childhood and young adulthood in Kenya. She has studied African elephants since 1975, beginning her career working with Cynthia Moss in Amboseli national park. Her honors thesis at Smith College in 1979 and her PhD thesis from Cambridge University in 1982 both focused on the sexual and aggressive phenomenon of musth in male elephants. She went on to study elephant vocal communication and in 1985 with Katy Payne discovered that African elephants communicate using sounds below the level of human hearing. Through the 1980s, she continued work on aspects of musth and elephant communication while was a research fellow of Princeton University. Between 1990 and 1994 she headed the elephant program at the Kenya Wildlife Service where she was responsible for elephant conservation and management throughout the country. After leaving KWS Joyce returned to her studies of elephant communication this time focusing on the vocal repertoire of African elephants. She is now director of ElephantVoices, a major ATE collaborative project. Joyce lives in Norway with husband Petter and daughter Selengei.