Sarah Day Maisonneuve is Founder and Director of Wildlife Connection. Sarah is responsible for defining the long-term vision of the project, and directing program activities. She is from Colorado and started working in Tanzania in 2008, when she began her PhD dissertation work on human elephant conflict. Sarah quickly grew passionate about the importance of creating benefits to people of living with elephants as a means for both protecting elephants, and improving human livelihoods. She has since devoted herself to establishing and growing Wildlife Connection. She holds a BSc in Biology and is currently a PhD Candidate in Ecology at Colorado State University.
Felisto Kabonyela is the Education Coordinator for Wildlife Connection. He is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the environmental education program, as well as directing community outreach activities in the Pawaga-Idodi area. Felisto has worked for the project since 2008, when he started out collecting data on human elephant conflict events in his village of Makifu. While working as interpreter for our developing environmental education program in 2010, Felisto discovered a deep passion and talent for teaching. He has since worked closely with volunteer biologists and local educators to formalize and widely implement our environmental education curriculum in primary and secondary schools. Felisto is an invaluable member of our management team.
Kessi Kuandama is our lead Human-elephant conflict (HEC) officer. Kessi records incidents of human elephant conflict in his village of Kitisi, which we have identified as a hotspot for conflict. Kesi coordinates the building and maintenance of barrier fences, and acts as our community liaison in Kitisi. Kessi recently received formal training in beekeeping and beehive management, and is leading the series of workshops to train local villagers in beekeeping. Kessi has worked for for the project since 2008.
Hannah Shaw is the Project Manager for Wildlife Connection. Hannah is from the UK and joined the team in 2013. She is responsible for the managing the elephant monitoring and ID program, as well as expanding effective human-elephant mitigation techniques utilized by local farmers. Hannah has extensive field research experience identifying and monitoring elephants and other large mammals in South Africa. She has conducting carnivore and large game spatial research in small game reserves in South Africa and has assisted in survey and analysis of African elephant damage in the Kruger National Park. Hannah holds an MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation and is very passionate about conservation and wildlife research.
Isacka Lemulebeli, supervises field assistants in all 21 villages in our study area, conducting random inspections of farms that are reported as sites of conflict, and traveling to each village on a monthly basis to meet with field assistants, collect data and pay salaries. Isacka also works as general (and invaluable!) support staff on our various programs.
Fatuma Kidyega is our librarian in Tungamalenga village. She is responsible for maintaining the library and its contents, and recording basic data about the frequency with which people of different ages visit the library. Fatuma is also learning to use the library computer so she can teach our patrons how to use the Internet.
Abeli Swalo is Park Guide for the park visitation program benefiting local people. Abeli is a recent graduate of the locally run Mkuyu Guiding School and joined our team as a volunteer in 2015. In 2016, Abeli was offered the position of Park Guide and is now responsible for teaching local people about the surrounding wildlife whilst on park trips. He is extremely knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, and his passion for the imparting that knowledge to local people really shows.
Char Armitage is the Field Site Manager for Wildlife Connection. She is from the UK and joined the team late in 2015. She is responsible for coordinating our day-to-day operations on the ground. Char has field experience from all over the world having carried out research in Indonesia, Madagascar, Costa Rica and Canada. She has a particular interest in mammal conservation so working with the earth’s largest land mammal is the perfect project! Char holds an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation Management where she developed her passion for human wildlife conflict and how to bridge this important gap between animals and people.