Who We Are

Fran Duthie

President / Co-Founder
Fellow in The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Fran:Elephanatics website photoFran’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.

Christina Toms


Christina Toms, Director of Communications, Co-FounderChristina is a graduate of UBC’s renowned Creative Writing and Film Production joint program with her Master’s in 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. She is a Co-Founder of Elephanatics.

Dr. Andrea Duthie

Director at Large / Co-Founder

Andrea is a companion animal veterinarian graduate, with honors, from Midwestern University, Phoenix, and an undergrad in Kinesiology from UBC. She has a passion for equality of all sentient beings and hopes to work with Veterinarians Beyond Borders in the future. 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 her veterinarian practice.

Dr. Jake Wall

Director /African Elephant Specialist / Co-Founder

Jake Wall, Co-Founder, Chief Scientific Research Advisor

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.

Tessa Vanderkop

Director of Strategic Relationships and Advocacy

Tessa Vanderkop, Director of Community Engagement

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 Asian elephants in tourism. She has a degree in marketing management and completed the certification for a BC SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer. She has since visited ten elephant camps in Thailand and Vietnam to investigate their level of animal welfare. Leanne can make presentations to schools and other groups on ethical elephant experiences. She helps plan, coordinate and manage Elephanatics’ campaigns. Other duties include fundraising, communications and relationship building. 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), an organization that recommends animal facilities with outstanding ratings 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. 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.

Marylee Davies

Legal and Strategic Advisor

Marylee Davies is a partner at Farris LLP, where she practices labour employment and human rights law. She has been a long-time advocate for animals. She joined the BC SPCA as a Community Council Member and later joined their Board of Directors. She held the office of President of the BC SPCA Board for the last four years of her tenure. She is currently the President of the Board of the Vancouver Humane Society. Marylee provides Elephanatics with support and advice on legal and strategic matters. Marylee is committed to bringing positive change to the lives of all animals.

Jett Britnell


Jett Britnell is a professional underwater, wildlife & expedition photographer, explorer, internationally published writer and speaker. A Fellow in Canada’s prestigious Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Fellow of the world-renowned and exclusive Explorers Club and Fellow of 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, preserve their natural habitats and support conservation efforts. Jett feels the need to ban the sale of elephant ivory in Canada is imperative for their survival and is proactive in assisting with 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. 


Melanie Reding

Curriculum Developer and Classroom Presenter – USA

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.

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


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 the WAP 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. I want to create a better world for my favourite animal; elephants, while continuing on my journey to respect and protect all sentient beings and show others that it is possible to live harmoniously together with all species.



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