The vision of Elephanatics was created by co-founders Fran Duthie, Dr Jake Wall, Christina Toms, and Dr Andrea Duthie.
Fellow in The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
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 elephant by means of conservation, education, and action.
Responsible for the overall core functions of the organization in order for it to achieve its mission, her areas of focus are fundraising, education, member/volunteer involvement, social media, and relationship building.
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 Vice President of Elephanatics, Tessa is responsible for identifying and advancing policy positions to stop the international trade of ivory into and through Canada; identifies and advances strategic opportunities and collaboration in the community to support the long-term survival of African elephants.
Director of Communications and Marketing
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 certification as a BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer. After visiting ten elephant camps in Asia she founded the Society of Travelers Respecting Animal Welfare (STRAW), a non-profit that recommends facilities with high animal welfare standards to tourists. She helps plan, coordinate, and manage Elephanatics’ campaigns.
DR RENE BEYERS
Director African Elephant Specialist
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.
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 in Denver, CO. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia and her doctorate from Midwestern University. 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 veterinary field.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curriculum Developer / Classroom Presentations
Melanie is a high-performing, effective and versatile educator with exceptional people and administration skills. She has over 20 years of experience in developing and facilitating course materials, training, and implementing instructional and communication best practices in formal and informal settings. She is extremely passionate about saving the elephant due to her time spent in Tanzania, and Kenya where she met Dr. Dame Daphne, founder of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and supports their work through adoptions and donations.
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
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 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’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.
My passion for elephants emanates from my spiritual beliefs and practices. Nature is imbued with spiritual power and significance. Through nature, we can connect with our true selves. Taking care of nature and it’s keystone species, such as the elephant, increases awareness, presence, joy, gratitude, and compassion. As a student ambassador at Elephanatics, my goal is to be an active advocate for elephants in Africa and Asia by educating and inspiring youth to make a difference, especially through classroom presentations.