Who's Involved

Recovering lions requires dedicated, collaborative, innovative, thoughtful, and experienced talent from around the world.  

The individuals below are valued colleagues of the Lion Recovery Fund working above and beyond their already demanding conservation roles to advance the goals of the Lion Recovery Fund. Their contributions give all of us hope that lions will recover and rebound.

Leadership

  • Colleen Begg

    Founder, Niassa Lion Project

    Granting

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    Colleen Begg

    Founder, Niassa Lion Project

    Granting

    Dr. Colleen Begg was raised in South Africa. She earned her Master’s Degree (with distinction) assessing the translocation of problem cheetah into Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe and her PhD in Zoology on the first in-depth study of the honey badger. Colleen is a well published scientist and is also a professional photographer with articles and images published worldwide in National Geographic Magazine and Africa Geographic among others. In 1996, Colleen joined forces with Keith Begg to start the first in depth study of the honey badger in the Kalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa.  In 2003, Colleen and Keith, left South Africa for Mozambique and founded the independent Niassa Lion Project in the little known Niassa Reserve in Northern Mozambique where they work in collaboration with local communities and Mozambican management authority (co-management between Wildlife Conservation Society and Ministry of Tourism). The goals of this project are to secure lions, leopards, wild dogs and spotted hyaenas in Niassa Reserve by finding practical, community based sustainable solutions to human induced threats like unsustainable sport hunting, retaliatory killing and bushmeat snaring. In 2007, Colleen received a Rufford Innovation Award for Niassa Lion Project's lion conservation work in Niassa Reserve. 

  • Shivani Bhalla

    Founder and Executive Director, Ewaso Lions

    Granting

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    Shivani Bhalla

    Founder and Executive Director, Ewaso Lions

    Granting

    Shivani is a fourth generation Kenyan who believes the key to lion conservation is working in partnership with local communities. She founded Ewaso Lions in 2007 to promote co-existence between carnivores and people. Shivani’s commitment to Kenya’s lions has earned her a 2014 Whitley Award, the 2013 Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for the Next Generation in Wild Cat Conservation, the ‘Africa’s Young Women Conservation Biologist of 2009′ award by the Society of Conservation Biology, the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation from the Born Free Foundation, and she has been named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. She received her MSc. from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, has a BSc. in Environmental Science from Lancaster University and was awarded her DPhil in Zoology from Oxford University in 2017.  Previously, she has worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service and Save The Elephants.  Shivani moved to Samburu in 2002 and lives in the Ewaso Lions Camp in Westgate Conservancy.

  • Peter Lindsey

    Conservation Initiatives Director, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Management, Campaigns

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    Peter Lindsey

    Conservation Initiatives Director, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Management, Campaigns

    Peter joined WCN in 2017 as the Conservation Initiatives Director and brings a lifelong passion for African wildlife conservation to the organization. He has been working on and with African wildlife since 1993, when he started out as an apprentice in Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. Peter went on to study at Oxford and ultimately graduated with a PhD from the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria. Developing an early expertise on African wild dogs, Peter went on to work on a broad array of conservation issues ranging from predator conservation, to the threats facing them and other wildlife, to wildlife ranching and community conservation, and most recently to Africa’s vast protected area network. Peter has worked in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and brings a unique ‘big picture’ perspective to our African conservation efforts. Prior to joining WCN, Peter worked for Panthera’s Lion Program as the policy coordinator and completed some major overviews of the issues facing the conservation of lions in Africa’s protected area network. 

  • Jeffrey "Jefe" Parrish

    Vice President for Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Management, Campaigns, Granting

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    Jeffrey "Jefe" Parrish

    Vice President for Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Management, Campaigns, Granting

    Jefe brings passion and boundless energy to WCN, where he is responsible for supporting, growing and strengthening a network of the most innovative conservation heroes around the world. He has a particular focus on the most urgent and innovative projects to reverse wildlife crises and ensuring that the funding and social capital is secured to ensure wildlife thrives for generations to come.  Prior to joining WCN, Jefe was a Managing Director at the World Wildlife Fund, where he launched initiatives to engage the travel industry in conservation and developed new cutting-edge concepts for game-changing funders such as Google and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Before WWF, Jefe led the Freedom to Roam (FTR) coalition, where—with Patagonia Inc.—he developed groundbreaking partnerships and campaigns to promote the connectivity of increasingly fragmented lands and waters for wildlife in North America.  Jefe held several leadership positions over his 12-year career at The Nature Conservancy and at Manomet Center for Conservation Science.

  • Rebecca Patton

    Director/Vice President, Board Member, Wildlife Conservation Network.

    Management

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    Rebecca Patton

    Director/Vice President, Board Member, Wildlife Conservation Network.

    Management

    After 20 years in the private sector in Silicon Valley, Rebecca joined The Nature Conservancy in 2001 to pursue her life-long interest in conservation. As a Regional Director, she oversaw conservation programs in many parts of the world, from China to Peru to the western United States, and developed a deep appreciation for the importance of community-based conservation. Then as the Chief Conservation Strategies Officer she led TNC's global policy and science initiatives. She joined WCN in 2010 to contribute her experience to WCN's innovative and effective model for wildlife conservation. She is on the boards of several other conservation organizations, and in her free time, she also enjoys hiking adventures.

  • Paul Thomson

    Board Member, Ewaso Lions

    Management, Campaigns

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    Paul Thomson

    Board Member, Ewaso Lions

    Management, Campaigns

    Paul Thomson is a conservation biologist focusing on highly threatened and endangered species, incubating conservation startups, and building leadership capacity in the environmental field. Paul worked as a director of Ewaso Lions, helping shape this award-winning Kenyan organization that conserves lions by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife. He currently sits on the board. Paul also co-founded Save Pangolins to address the illegal trade of the little-known pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal. He is a vice chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group. Paul is an advisor to the Kinship Conservation Fellows program, and serves on the board of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) program, two platforms that develop leadership skills for conservationists. Paul holds a BSc from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment and received his Master’s from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He now lives in San Francisco.

  • Justin Winters

    Executive Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

    Campaigns

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    Justin Winters

    Executive Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

    Campaigns

    Justin Winters is the Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Over the past 10 years, Justin has helped Leonardo reshape his approach to philanthropy and activism, leveraging his position as a global figure to influence decision-makers and the public on the most pressing environmental issues. The Foundation is dedicated to protecting the Earth’s last wild places and implementing solutions that create a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. Using innovative strategies Justin has successfully built LDF’s global grantmaking program, awarding over $80 million since 2008 to fund over 132 high impact projects in more than 45 countries across the world.  As part of her vision to accelerate conservation efforts she has created bold new philanthropic models like the Elephant Crisis Fund and the new Lion Recovery Fund. Justin currently serves on the board of Give Clear Water, The Solutions Project, Oceans 5 and the Global Partnership for Sharks, as well as World Wildlife Fund’s National Council.

  • Lance Williams

    Co-Founder, LanMar Fund

    Campaigns

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    Lance Williams

    Co-Founder, LanMar Fund

    Campaigns

    Lance C. Williams has over eighteen years of strategic marketing, communications and philanthropic experience. From 2006-2014, Lance served as the Executive Director of Brand Development at Condé Nast Traveler magazine, responsible for promoting the brand internationally through events, conferences and charity partnerships. Since 2002, Lance has served on the board of directors of the Fred B. Snite Foundation as Vice President. This Chicago-based family foundation provides grants to a variety of societal, medical and educational causes. Lance has championed the foundation’s significant support of several causes, including The Wildlife Conservation Network. In 2012, Lance co-founded The LanMar Fund, a charitable fund that supports awareness, research and action in the field of wildlife conservation, including leadership gifts for Save The Elephants’ Elephant Crisis Fund. Lance lives in New York City and Los Angeles and is an avid traveler. His frequent visits to Africa inspire his continued commitment to preserving endangered species.

  • John Baker

    Managing Director-Programs, WildAid

    Campaigns

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    John Baker

    Managing Director-Programs, WildAid

    Campaigns

    John is the driving force behind WildAid’s operations including program strategy, fundraising efforts, international program management, and organizational operations. He brings valuable expertise from 15 years of managing conservation programs in Southeast Asia and 12 years at PRBO Conservation Science. John’s entrepreneurial spirit and hands-on attitude have helped launch innovative rural development projects in Thailand, manage a conservation program for the largest protected area in Laos, and establish an award-winning family planning program for the Vietnam Women's Union. He works closely with like-minded individuals including pre-eminent social entrepreneur Mechai Viravaidya and lends his expertise to the creative process including the publication of a guidebook to Thai national parks and a coffee table book on Thai flora and fauna. During one watershed moment in recent Thai political history, John seized the opportunity to write speeches for Thailand's Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun. When not in the water or in the forest, he enjoys gardening and cooking.

  • Stephanie Carnow

    Director of Marketing and Communications, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Campaigns

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    Stephanie Carnow

    Director of Marketing and Communications, Wildlife Conservation Network

    Campaigns

    Stephanie’s two biggest passions are telling great stories and helping animals. In 2003, she was able to bring these passions together by managing communications projects for WildAid, an organization focused on ending illegal wildlife trafficking. Inspired by this experience she went on to get her M.A. in geography, studying human-wildlife interactions in marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation. Most recently, Stephanie was a Communications Officer at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where she worked on communications strategy and developed print and digital content on a variety of issues—including climate change, education, women’s empowerment and the arts. 

  • Hugo van der Westhuizen

    Frankfurt Zoological Society

    Granting

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    Hugo van der Westhuizen

    Frankfurt Zoological Society

    Granting

    Hugo van der Westhuizen has been the Project Leader for the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Gonarezhou Conservation Programme in Zimbabwe since its inception in 2007. This programme has been responsible for a reduction in poaching incidences, and increasing tourism numbers, at a time when poaching elsewhere increased, and Zimbabwe have been going through its most difficult political and economic challenges. Hugo has 23 years of professional experience on the ground in the field of biodiversity conservation, with emphasis on protected area management. Nine of these years were spent as project manager for Frankfurt Zoological Society in the North Luangwa Conservation Programme – a multi-disciplinary project in partnership with the Zambia Wildlife Authority, which achieved the successful re-establishment of a viable black rhino population.  He has a private pilot’s licence with over 4000 hours, mostly accrued during flights in support of park management operations in remote North-Eastern Zambia and Zimbabwe. His time with FZS was preceded by four years working for the South African National Parks as a section ranger in the then newly developing Marakele National Park. He has an MSc in Conservation Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation Biology at the University of Kent in the UK where he was awarded the Maurice Swingland prize for best taught course student of the year and the Bruno H. Schubert prize in 2012 for his outstanding engagement in conservation and his achievement in park protection in Africa. 

  • Kent Wommack

    Executive Director, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation

    Granting

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    Kent Wommack

    Executive Director, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation

    Granting

    Kent is the Executive Director of the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation in New York City, a global conservation grant maker dedicated to the survival of wildlife and wildlands and to the vitality of human communities with which they are linked. The Foundation's supports wildlife and community based conservation initiatives in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the northern Rocky Mountains region.  Prior to joining LCAOF, Kent worked for 34 years with The Nature Conservancy, where he was one of the organization's most respected and accomplished conservation leaders. He led three of TNC's most successful state and country programs -- in Maine, Australia and Canada -- among other positions. Kent is one of just nine TNC leaders featured in the book "Nature's Keepers", a profile of TNC's extraordinary growth and success over its first half century. Kent is a Board Member of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, a major philanthropic foundation in Maine which donates $8 million annually to non-profits. 

Strategic Advisors

  • Claudio Sillero
    Senior Technical Advisor
    Wildcru, Oxford University

    Hans Bauer
    Wildcru, Oxford University

    Matthew Becker
    Zambian Carnivore Programme

    Christine Bretienmoser
    IUCN Cat Specialist Group

    Urs Breitenmoser
    IUCN Cat Specialist Group

  • Renee Bumpus
    Houston Zoo

    Amy Dickman
    Wildcru, Oxford University

    Stephanie Dolrenry
    Lion Guardians

    Paul Funston
    Panthera

    Leela Hazzah
    Lion Guardians

    Philipp Henschel
    Panthera

  • Luke Hunter
    Panthera

    Andy Loveridge
    Wildcru, Oxford University

    David Macdonald
    Wildcru, Oxford University

    Craig Packer
    University of Minnesota

    Peter Riger
    Houston Zoo

    Tim Tear
    Wildlife Conservation Society