Who We Are

Fran Duthie

President / Co-Founder

Fran:Elephanatics website photoResponsible 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, social media and relationship building.

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 co-written education lesson plans for primary and intermediate grades for both African and Asian elephants. Her approach is to teach the importance of the elephant as a keystone species from an environmental and ecological viewpoint and how poaching is affecting the balance of both. The persecution of elephants from unethical tourism is also addressed. They have been distributed and presented throughout the greater Vancouver school district and in San Diego, California. She has self-published two children’s poetry books and is available to give classroom presentations upon request.

She has fostered many orphaned elephants through the David Sheldrick Foundation and donates regularly to them. Her eagerness to assist those in need comes from her previous work teaching and counseling 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.

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

Dr. Jake Wall currently works with the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) in Kenya, as the director of research and conservation. He leads the applied research agenda aimed at enhancing the protection of elephants and the habitat upon which they and other wildlife depend. Dr. Wall completed an undergraduate degree in physics and then a master’s degree in geography at Queens’ University, Canada, specializing in RADAR – remote sensing in the Canadian Arctic. He began as a volunteer with Save The Elephants (STE) in Kenya in 2003 and completed a Ph.D. in geography at the University of British Columbia in 2015 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 STE during his Ph.D. and MEP now uses EarthRanger for the real-time tracking of elephants and rangers. Jake is originally from Canada but attended the International School of Kenya in Nairobi during the 1990s.

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, marketing and fundraising support

Tessa is a lifelong lover of animals and a believer in 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 Asian Elephants / Campaign Manager


Leanne has had a passion for elephants for as long as she can remember. Her main focus is on 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 coordination of the annual Global March for Elephants & Rhinos event and Ride a Bike not an Elephant event. Other duties include fundraising, publicity and sponsorship for Elephanatics, as well as campaign management and relationship building. 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 is also the founder of  ‘Society of Travelers Respecting Animal Welfare’ (STRAW) an organization 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 Ph.D. 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. Marylee has been a long time advocate for animals. She became formally involved in the humane movement when she joined the BC SPCA, first as a Community Council Member and later as a member of the Society’s Board of Directors. She served on the BC SPCA Board for three full terms, holding the office of President for the last four years of her tenure. She is currently the President of the Vancouver Humane Society. She ascribes to the mission and vision of Elephanatics and provides support and advice on legal and strategic matters. Marylee is committed to bringing positive change to the lives of all animals: her unwavering goal is to end all forms of animal cruelty, abuse and exploitation.

Jett Britnell


Jett Britnell is a professional Underwater, Wildlife & Expedition Photographer, Explorer, and an internationally published Writer and Lecturer. He is a Fellow in Canada’s prestigious Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a Fellow of the world-renowned and exclusive Explorers Club, and a Fellow of London’s famed Royal Geographical Society. As a lifelong wildlife conservationist, Jett always seeks ways through his words and images to inspire others to globally protect endangered species, preserve their natural habitats and support conservation efforts. Today, large-scale poaching to supply illegal ivory trafficking presents the most urgent threat to elephants. Conflict with humans, habitat loss and degradation, are also having a negative impact on elephants in both Africa and Asia. Jett feels it is a distinct honour and high privilege to support Elephanatics’ efforts to ban the sale of all elephant ivory in Canada and help protect elephants worldwide through education, advocacy and conservation.

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.



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 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.

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 traveling 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.

 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 our organization by finding upcoming opportunities for us to showcase at.

Chelsey Bogaczewicz

Event and Campaign organizer

Chelsey is currently completing her Bachelor of Business Administration. Once she is done she will continue her career in the logistics industry. Chelsey has been a long time lover of animals and has always had love and respect for elephants. This love and respect was 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 event. 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.

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 formatting our newsletters in Mailchimp.

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!

Jade Crawford

Public Relations

My goal is to create a larger digital and community footprint for Elephanatics and help drive their 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.



%d bloggers like this: