Our Team

The vision of Elephanatics was created by founder Fran Duthie and co-founders Dr Jake Wall, Christina Toms, and Dr Andrea Duthie.

Directors

FRAN DUTHIE

President/Co-Founder

Fran’s unyielding concern and desire to bring awareness to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa spurred her to form Elephanatics, the first elephant advocacy organization to be established in Vancouver, BC. Its main goal is to help the long-term survival of the African and Asian elephant by means of conservation, education, and action.

Responsible for the overall core functions of the organization in order for it to achieve its long-term vision, her areas of focus are strategy, finance, fundraising, education, member/volunteer involvement, social media and relationship building.

TESSA VANDERKOP

Director of Strategic Relationships and Advocacy

Tessa is a lifelong lover of animals and a believer in transforming passion into action. Her love of elephants and the reality of the multiple threats they face has set her on a course of lifelong advocacy and action on their behalf. As the Director of Advocacy, Tessa is responsible for identifying and advancing policy positions to stop the international trade of ivory into and through Canada.

 

LEANNE FOGARTY

Director of Asian Elephants/Campaign Manager

Leanne has had a passion for elephants since childhood. Her main focus is educating people about the abuse of riding elephants in tourism. She has a marketing degree and certification for a BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer. She visited ten elephant camps in Asia to rate their animal welfare level. She helps plan, coordinate and manage Elephanatics’ campaigns. Leanne is an Ambassador for the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, which offers sanctuary to injured and old pachyderms. She also founded the Society of Travelers Respecting Animal Welfare (STRAW), a non-profit that recommends animal facilities with outstanding ratings of animal welfare to tourists.

Founding Members

DR JAKE WALL

Director of African Elephant Conservation/Co-Founder

Dr Jake Wall is the director of research and conservation at Mara Elephant Project (MEP) in Kenya. He leads the applied research agenda aimed at enhancing the protection of elephants and their habitat. Jake has an undergraduate degree in physics and a master’s degree in geography at Queens’ University, specializing in radar remote sensing in the Canadian Arctic. He also completed a PhD in geography, studying the geospatial analysis of African elephant movement. As one of the architects of the EarthRanger system built by Vulcan, he developed an extended earlier real-time monitoring system for Save the Elephants in Kenya.

DR ANDREA DUTHIE

Director At Large/Co-Founder

Andrea is a companion animal veterinarian graduate, with honors, from Midwestern University, Phoenix. She has a passion for equality of all sentient beings and plans to volunteer globally to serve both pets and wildlife. She is a founding member of Elephanatics and continues to share our mission by raising awareness about the peril of elephants worldwide through contacts in the veterinarian field.

CHRISTINA TOMS

Co-Founder

Christina is a graduate of UBC’s renowned Creative Writing and Film Production joint program with a Master of Fine Arts. Christina’s passion for the plight of elephants began with a visit to Kenya, where she got to meet many wild elephants, more than a few of whom were subsequently poached for their ivory. Upon returning to Vancouver, she was propelled to do everything she could to raise awareness about this problem.

Advisors

DR RENE BEYERS

African Elephant Specialist and Advisor

Rene is an associate researcher in the Department of Zoology at UBC. He has a broad interest in conservation and is particularly concerned with declines of threatened wildlife species and its consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. He lived in several African countries working as a conservationist. He helped to set up the CITES-MIKE program which keeps track of elephant populations and the illegal killing of elephants in Africa and Asia. He has a PhD from UBC studying the distribution and conservation of elephants, okapi and other big mammals in Central Africa.

JETT BRITNELL

Consultant

Jett Britnell is a professional underwater, wildlife & expedition photographer, explorer, internationally published writer and speaker. He is a Fellow in the prestigious Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the exclusive Explorers Club, and London’s famed Royal Geographical Society. Jett is a lifelong wildlife conservationist who through his words and images seeks to inspire others to globally protect endangered species and preserve their natural habitats. Jett feels a ban on the sale of elephant ivory in Canada is imperative for their survival and is proactive in assisting efforts to do so.

LYNN HOWARD

Education Coordinator Advisor for San Diego Schools

Lynn is a retired science prep teacher for the San Diego Unified School District. Her passion is for preserving cultures and those who understand the importance of working with the native flora and fauna to build a healthy ecosystem that is enhanced by biodiversity. Her desire to continue to volunteer in her area of expertise has granted us privilege by connecting us with valuable resources and teachers to further our goal of spreading awareness about the ongoing elephant crises, both African and Asian.

CHRIS VASSILIOU

African Wildlife Advisor

Chris is a member of the Australian and USA (Fellow) Institute of Company Directors, and has served as nominee director of various private equity groups and CEO of international companies in several countries. He is originally from Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) where he spent his years growing up close to the Victoria Falls and the Hwange game park. Those years helped to develop his passion to preserve our wildlife and their environment, which has led to his involvement in several wildlife conservation associations. He is a proponent of what he calls “Effective Activism” whereby change can only be achieved with integrity and by winning the hearts of the majority. He feels strongly that to do this one has to educate with effective and honest communication followed by actions that do not cross any legal boundaries.

RICHARD LINDSAY

Legal Advisor

Richard Lindsay is a founding partner of Lindsay LLP in Vancouver. As a well-known insurance lawyer in Canada, Richard has extensive trial and appellate court experience, including appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada. Driven with a desire to use his skills in the service of helping elephants and other wildlife, Richard volunteers with Lawyers Without Borders in Kenya and Tanzania where he teaches advocacy skills to magistrates, prosecutors, and wildlife officers charged with reducing elephant and rhino poaching.

Volunteers

BETH HILL

Education Facilitator – San Diego

Beth shares a deep compassion and empathy for all animals. She has volunteered at the San Diego Humane Society and various animal activism venues for years. Being made aware of the elephant crises in Africa and Asia, she was compelled to get involved and assist in bringing awareness to the poaching crisis. She has been the organizer of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in San Diego for the past two years. By becoming an education facilitator, she believes that enlightening and inspiring children, therefore empowering them, is paramount to saving the fragile future of elephants.

LAUREN COBURN

Event Co-Ordinator

Lauren is a business graduate who works in event marketing and production. She spent the first twelve years of her life in South Africa where she became enthralled with the beauty of nature and all its creatures. Lauren has a special place in her heart for elephants and recognizes the immense importance of raising awareness to protect these majestic animals from the horrifying poaching crisis in Africa. Lauren works as an event coordinator and assists by finding upcoming opportunities for us to showcase at.

CHELSEY BOGACZEWICZ

Event and Campaign Organizer

Chelsey has a Bachelor of Business Administration and works in the logistics industry. She has been a long-time lover of animals and has always had love and respect for elephants. This love and respect intensified after a week volunteering with elephants in Thailand in 2017. Upon her return, she joined Elephanatics and is looking forward to running campaigns to help with the conservation of elephants.

CAROL-ANN AND BRIAN KUNIMOTO

Fundraisers

Carol-Ann and Brian are extraordinary fundraisers for Elephanatics. They have backed our cause since we incorporated as an organization. They are a force at bringing awareness and fundraising to both our Global March for Elephants and Rhinos event and our Ride a Bike Not an Elephant campaign. They are competent, reliable and sincere leaders. We are so fortunate to have their commitment and dedication and appreciate their value as part of our team.

MELISSA TORRES

Graphic Designer

Melissa is a multidisciplinary designer/artist who is passionate about animal welfare. She has been a long-time supporter of organizations like World Animal Protection and ASPCA. She also volunteers for projects such as Fashionable Adoptions and Coco’s Doggie Ranch. Her hope is to effectively apply her skills to bring awareness to the Elephant poaching crisis. She is very excited and grateful at the opportunity to be a part of Elephanatics. Melissa is our go-to graphic girl!

JADE CRAWFORD

Public Relations

Jade’s goal is to create a larger digital and community footprint for Elephanatics and help drive its initiatives forward. She wants to create a better world for her favourite animal – elephants, while continuing her journey to respect and protect all sentient beings and show others it is possible to live harmoniously together with all species.

 

Coalition Members

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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