Who We Are

Fran Duthie

President / Co – Founder

Fran:Elephanatics website photo

Responsible for the overall core functions of the organization in order for it to achieve its long-term vision. Areas of focus include: strategy, finance, fundraising, education, member/volunteer involvement and social media impact.

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.

Fran has written education lesson plans for grades four to seven about the elephant and its importance environmentally and ecologically and how poaching is affecting the balance of both. They have been distributed and presented throughout the greater Vancouver school district and in San Diego, California. She has written two children’s books and is available to give classroom presentations upon request.

She has fostered many orphaned elephants through the David Sheldrick Foundation and Elephant Voices organizations, and donates regularly to them. Her eagerness to assist those in need comes from her previous work teaching and counselling special needs children and volunteering at the BCSPCA.

Christina Toms

Founding Member

Christina Toms, Director of Communications, Co-Founder

Christina is a graduate from UBC’s renowned Creative Writing and Film Production joint program with her MFA.  Her work in film and video included an installation piece entitled “Elephants In The Room”, highlighting the forest elephants of central africa, and successfully completed her MFA thesis project, which entailed a short fantasy film following a group of nomads being hunted for their teeth.

Christina’s passion for the plight of elephants began last year 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, with a few other like-minded folks, formed Elephanatics.  Christina is thrilled to be a part of this growing voice for elephants and wildlife, and has high hopes for the future in this regard.  In her spare time, she likes to cook, indulge in her favourite film and TV shows, and spend time in nature.

Andrea Duthie

Director of Community Engagement / Co – Founder 

Andre Duthie CPO - Chief Programs Officer Co-Founder

My goals are to utilize connections at UBC to:

  • Increase event participation of university students to educate that generation of future leaders in conservation
  • Encourage aspiring teachers to help with elementary classroom presentations
  • Add volunteers to our roster
  • Have Elephanatics’ education material used at Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Reading is Fundamental yearly event.

Andrea is a veterinary student at Midwestern University with a zeal for inter-species equality. The opportunity to co-found an elephant advocacy organization fuelled her passion for global wildlife conservation. Her belief that all sentient beings should be treated equally stems from the affect of working with homeless animals for many years and translates into her unyielding desire to stop elephant poaching. She has had a wealth of experience working with companion and farm animals and wishes to work abroad one day with Veterinarians Without Borders to aid subsistence farmers in developing countries. When she is not working for Elephanatics, she can be found volunteering at her local rescue shelter, practicing yoga or reading a good book.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Dr. Jake Wall

Director – African Elephant Specialist / Founding Member

Jake Wall, Co-Founder, Chief Scientific Research Advisor

Jake is a movement ecologist studying the ranging behaviour of African elephants using high-tech GPS tracking technology. He has developed a real-time monitoring system that is helping to counter elephant poaching in Kenya and South Africa and has also studied the movement patterns of the rare population of desert elephants in Mali. He recently completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Geography. He works with elephant organizations in Africa, teaching them his GPS technology in order for them to counter poaching.

Tessa Vanderkop

Director of Strategic Relationships and Advocacy

Tessa Vanderkop, Director of Community Engagement

  • Responsible for identifying and advancing policy positions to stop the international trade of ivory into and through Canada.
  • Responsible for building and strengthening relationships with other likeminded NGO’s to support our positions.
  • Responsible for identifying partnerships that will help raise awareness, funds or otherwise leverage opportunities to help African and Asian elephants.
  • Liaison for Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
  • Overall communications and marketing support

Tessa is a lifelong lover of animals and a believer of transforming passion into action. She is a strong believer that every person, big or small, can make a difference and that a small determined group of people can bring about significant change which is why she joined Elephanatics. 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.

Leanne Fogarty

Director of Education / Executive Board Secretary


Leanne has had a passion for elephants for as long as she can remember. Her main focus is educating people about the abuse of Asian elephants in tourism. She has completed the certification for a BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer, and has since visited and investigated nine elephant camps in Thailand. Leanne is available to make presentations to schools, community groups and anyone interested in ethical elephant experiences. She assists in the planning, promotion and co-ordination of the annual Global March for Elephants & Rhinos. Other duties include publicity and sponsorship for Elephanatics, as well as Secretary to the Board of Directors.Leanne is an Elephant Ambassador for the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, which offers sanctuary to injured and old pachyderms and helps other tourist elephant camps switch to a successful, non-riding format. She also founded the Society of Travelers Respecting Animal Welfare (STRAW) that informs tourists of the best animal facilities to visit based on their outstanding levels of animal welfare.


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 and a protected area manager. He helped to set up the CITES MIKE programme 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.

Beth Hill

San Diego GMFER Main Organizer –  Education Facilitator for Elephanatics
Beth Hill shares a deep compassion and empathy for all animals that has lead her to volunteer at the San Diego Humane Society and various animal activism venues for years. Being made aware of the elephant crisis, both in Arica 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.

Sarah Skoglund Klein

Education facilitator – Rhinos

Sarah has a deep rooted passion for the conservation of African wildlife with an extra soft spot in her heart for the Rhinoceros. She has taken part in many local fundraising activities to include running the 2013 safari park half marathon for rhinos. She has visited Africa twice, volunteering at Care for the Wild in South Africa and Ol Pejeta, in Kenya. Both trips involved working with rhinos suffering from the poaching crisis. Her third volunteer trip is in the making.


Sara Walters

Event Planner

Sara currently works for the Vancouver Humane Society and has a background working as head of the administrative department for a trades company. She is passionate about helping animals and has volunteered with various animal welfare organizations, including the BC SPCA and the Spartanburg Humane Society in South Carolina. After learning about the ivory poaching crisis and travelling through Asia, witnessing the cruelty of Elephant tourism, she was compelled to get involved. Sara will benefit our organization by assisting us in event planning.

Cassie Betman

Education Facilitator 

Cassie is a business student with a deep, heart-felt passion for empowering all beings. Growing up, elephants have always had a special place in her heart with their majestic beauty and playful spirits. As an education facilitator, she gets to share her love for them as well as spread awareness about the elephant poaching crisis and the immense effects it has on the ecosystem.

 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 co-ordinator and assists our organization by finding upcoming opportunities for us to show case at.

Diane Pereira

linked phot
WordPress Assistant
Diane is a writer and editor who has a deep passion for animal welfare. She recognizes that elephants are emotional, intelligent animals and hopes for more awareness and education on ivory poaching and environmental issues in schools. She can be often found at the local SPCA where she is a dog welfare volunteer. Diane assists with the ongoing website updates.

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 the WSPA 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!

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