Speakers 

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Shivani Bhalla 

Twitter: @EwasoLions Instagram: @ewasolions

Born and raised in Kenya, Shivani 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 - a project that she now co-leads with her team. Together with her team, she works with communities to reduce livestock loss to carnivores, and monitors the existing lion population within the Samburu-Isiolo landscape in northern Kenya. Shivani, with her team, have created successful community programmes including Warrior Watch, Mama Simba and Lion Kids Camps. Shivani moved to Samburu in 2002 and lives in the Ewaso Lions Camp in Westgate Conservancy with her team and two dogs, Kura and Nanyori. 

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Munteli Lalparasaroi

Twitter: @EwasoLions Instagram: @ewasolions

Munteli is the driving force behind Ewaso Lions’ Mama Simba (“mother of lions”) programme. Munteli was eager to get involved in conservation and this led to the creation of the Mama Simba programme in 2013. She drives (the first Samburu woman from a village in the region to drive!), teaches other Mama Simba ladies, locates lions, attends to conflict, plants grass with women to restore the landscape, leads wildlife safaris with women, and much more. Over the years, Munteli has become an incredible spokeswomen for lions. 

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Dr Jessicah Kurere

Twitter: @EwasoLions Instagram: @jesskurere

Jessicah is the lead veterinarian working with the Community Animal Health Initiative Programme ( Ewaso Lions, Vet in Wild and Animal Care Centre). Jess treats domestic animals who have faced injuries through carnivore attacks, vaccinates dogs and cats against deadly diseases, increases awareness on diseases and the One Health approach through education, and much more.  She loves living and working with pastoralist communities in Northern Kenya. 

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Ana Valenzuela Toro

Twitter: @Avalenzuelatoro Instagram: @anita.valenzuelat

Ana is a Chilean paleobiologist pursuing her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. She also is a Peter Buck Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and a National Geographic Explorer. Ana is broadly interested in the ecological and evolutionary history of marine mammals. Specifically, her research explores how pinnipeds (the group that includes seals, fur seals, sea lions, and walruses) have evolved and maintained a semiaquatic lifestyle, breeding on land but foraging in the water, over the past ~30 million years. In addition to her research, Ana is enthusiastic about eradicating colonialism and racism in science and making science and education more inclusive. She is a fellow at the Clinton Global Initiative University by the Clinton Foundation, where she is committed to advancing actions to grant equity in education to underserved students. 

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Olivia McKendrick

Instagram: @culturalsanctuaries

A skilled negotiator and tenacious corporate lawyer at Linklaters for more than 25 years, Olivia attended the Paris Climate Change Summit in 2015 — and her life changed. Partnering with renowned National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier, she joined the Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation as Director and COO, working to sustain biodiversity by nurturing indigenous cultural communities. Indigenous peoples are the best guardians of the earth's biodiversity. Cultural Sanctuaries works at the crossroads of culture and conservation to support indigenous communities in protecting and celebrating their culture, language and land. The need to save the planet’s biodiversity is urgent and the fate of our remaining wilderness will be decided in the next decade. At the same time, indigenous cultures are eroding and languages are dying. Culture and conservation are inextricably linked.

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Martina Capriotti

Twitter: @12Martina_C Instagram: @martinacapriotti12

Martina Capriotti is an Italian marine biologist and SCUBA diver, born and grew up along the Adriatic Sea coast, where she developed a deep passion for the sea. During the first research years, she focused her studies on chemical pollution and its effects on marine organisms. Thanks to a National Geographic grant, she investigated microplastics and chemical pollution in the Adriatic Sea. She has been awarded one of the 3 SKY Ocean Rescue Scholars in Europe for this project. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Connecticut, where she directed her research interests on investigating how marine filter feeders interact with the ecosystem. As National Geographic Explorer she co-founded the National Geographic Explorers HUBs of New England and Italy. She also launched an environmental campaign called "Sea Rescuers Against Plastic" in the Italian Federation of Aquatic Rescue (FISA).

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Dr Losang Rabgey 

Twitter: @losangrabgey Instagram: @losangrabgey

Born a Tibetan refugee in India and raised in Canada, Dr Rabgey is the first Tibetan to hold a PhD in Feminist Anthropology.  She is the first Tibetan Commonwealth Scholar and National Geographic Explorer.  In 1998, she and her sister Dr Tashi Rabgey co-founded Machik with their parents as a nonprofit whose mission is to grow a global community committed to a stronger future for Tibet.  In 20+ years, Machik has mentored and supported education for thousands of people in Tibet and in diaspora, mostly women and girls. Machik’s currently works on civic engagement, gender equity and social innovation.  Programs feature a Tibetan Ideas Festival, a global platform to learn about cultural producers and change makers in Tibet, an annual Gender Summit, and more.  Machik also supports social innovators inside Tibet working in education, film, gender equity, conservation, health, and so on. 

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Kinga Philipps

Twitter: @kingaphilipps Instagram: @kingaphilipps

Never one to sit still, Kinga has tested herself for the past 20 + years by traveling the globe...scuba diving, free diving, spear fishing, surfing, jumping out of airplanes, spelunking and swimming with sharks as a writer, producer and on camera journalist for networks such as CBS, NBC, ABC, USA, AMC, Travel Channel, Fox Sports, Universal Sports, Food Network, Current TV, Syfy, Discovery, History Channel, EPIX, BBC and National Geographic. Kinga was born in Warsaw, Poland into a family of explorers and adventurers and is a Fellow of the Explorers Club. She has traveled the world reporting on intense subjects like police corruption in Mexico, gangs in LA, women in the sex trade, humanitarian and environmental causes, world conflict and natural disasters. On the flip side she has explored the night life, festivals and exotic eats of the world's most vibrant cities. 

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Dr. Jonatha Giddens

Twitter: @JonathaLauren Instagram: @jonathagiddens

Jonatha is an Ocean Ecologist, and the Chief Scientist for the National Geographic Society Exploration Technology Lab deep-sea research project. As a marine scientist by training and an artist at heart, Jonatha strives to integrate technology, science, and art in her ocean exploration work. Through collaborations with Explorers around the world, her mission is to help illuminate the amazing diversity of life in the ocean, and inspire people to care about the sea.

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Tania Pelamatti

Twitter: @TaniaPelamatti Instagram: @taniapelamatti

Tania is a marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer who is dedicating her PhD project to the study of manta rays and their possible interaction with plastic debris. She grew up in Italy where she studied biology and holds a master’s degree in marine biology. She left Italy in 2014 to develop her master’s thesis at the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR-IPN) in Baja California Sur (Mexico), focused on elasmobranch’s reproductive biology. During her internship in Mexico she became very passionate about sharks and rays, and realized how vulnerable they are to human pressure, habitat loss and ocean pollution. After an amazing encounter she had with oceanic manta rays in the Pacific Ocean, she decided to continue her studies focusing on the threats they are facing in our changing oceans.

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Denise Spaan

Twitter: @Denise_Spaan Instagram: @denise.spaan

Denise is a Mexico-based National Geographic Explorer, primatologist, and conservation researcher. She is a researcher at the Universidad Veracruzana and a member of the conservation NGO ConMonoMaya, which works to conserve primates and their habitats in the Yucatan Peninsula. Her research focuses on understanding how primates cope with natural and human-induced changes in their habitats. She is particularly interested in how spider monkeys in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are affected by the expanding tourism industry along the Carribean coastline.

 

 

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Keneiloe Molopyane

Twitter: @Keneiloe Instagram: @keneiloe

Archaeologist and Biological anthropologist, Dr Keneiloe Molopyane is the first research fellow at the Centre for the Exploration of the Deep Human Journey, University of the Wittwatersrand. She also holds the title of being the forst black women palaeoanthropologist to act as principal investigator in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, as she takes on to re-explore and continue excavtions at Gladysvale caves. Molopyane is also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer 2021, HiTec Heritage Hero, SuperScientists hero, and and Inspiring Fifty SA 2021 winner.

 

 

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Rosa Vasquez Espinoza

Twitter: @rosavespinoza Instagram: @rosavespinoza

Rosa is a Peruvian Chemical Biologist, National Geographic Explorer, educator, conservationist and award-winning artist. She founded the project MicroAmazon that explores the microscopic universe of extreme environments and unique animals in the Amazon Rainforest to discover new molecules and enzymes for medicine and green chemistry.

 

 

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Asher Jay

Twitter: @EarthHeiress Instagram: @earthheiress

Whether it is communications, organisms, planet, people or business the design premise remains the same. Asher will talk about the underlying narrative that has now persuaded her to take on a Tech start up, and how biology, brands and business have the same building blocks.

Asher Jay is an international adventurer and public figure whose compelling paintings, sculptures, installations, animations, ad campaigns, and films all have a single purpose: to incite global action on behalf of wildlife conservation. Asher's travels to the frontline have made her witness and story-teller, combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, promoting habitat sanctuaries and illuminating humanitarian emergencies. Her core message, again and again: biodiversity loss during the Anthropocene – the Age of Man.

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Adele Luta 

Twitter: @serenity_astra Instagram: @serenity_astro

Adele Luta is a scientist and innovator. She has worked at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Flight Center as a certified Mission Control Center flight controller and astronaut instructor where she supported over 90 spacewalks. As the xEVA (Exploration Spacewalks) Integration Project Manager at Oceaneering International Inc, she is part of the team to develop a lunar lander under NASA’s Artemis Program. Her training as a physicist has allowed her to work in many fields including researching the mind, nuclear physics, and team cognition. She is a private pilot and SCUBA diver. In this talk, she will share some of the scientific challenges to space "walking" on the moon while interweaving fun stories from her career.

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Erika Woolsey

Twitter: @ErikaWoolseyPhD Instagram: @erikawoolseyphd

Dr. Erika Woolsey is a marine biologist, ocean educator, and National Geographic Explorer. She conducted most of her research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia where she investigated how warming oceans are impacting coral reefs, specifically how rising temperatures hinder survival and development in young corals following mass spawning events. Amidst the rapid degradation of ocean ecosystems like coral reefs, Erika is dedicated to translating scientific discovery into public understanding. Most recently, she’s been the CEO of The Hydrous, a nonprofit that combines science, design, and technologies such as virtual reality and photogrammetry for ocean education. Erika received her Ph. D. from James Cook University and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, earned her Masters of Applied Science in Coastal Management from the University of Sydney, and studied Biology and Art History at Duke University.

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Sylvia Earle

Twitter: @SylviaEarle Instagram: @mission_blue

Sylvia Earle is an American oceanographer, aquanaut, the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and author of over 180 publications about marine science and technology. She has led over 100 expeditions, logging more than 7,000 hours underwater. She has received more than 100 national and international honors. Sylvia is often affectionately referred to as “Her Deepness.” She holds the record for deepest walk on the sea floor and is a world-renowned expert on marine biology. 

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Andrea Marshall

Twitter: @queenofmantas Instagram: @queenofmantas

A conservation biologist and National Geographic Explorer, Dr. Andrea Marshall leads groundbreaking research and conservation programs globally to save endangered sharks, rays and other threatened marine megafauna in some of their most critical habitats. She was the first person ever to complete a doctoral dissertation on manta rays, she developed the first online global database for them as well, and in her career has discover two new species of these giant rays. She is the co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, an NGO dedicated to 'Saving Our Ocean Giants from Extinction'. She has been living in Africa for 20 years and is pioneering the conservation of the Inhambane Seascape along the southern coastline of Mozambique.

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Sydney Hamilton

Twitter: @SeeSydSoar Instagram: @seesydsoar

Rising Technology Star Award Winner, Sydney Hamilton, has been featured on CBS, in Marie Claire Magazine, on GoldieBlox and across The Boeing Company for her innovative contributions to the aerospace industry. She was also selected to be an IF/THEN Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to inspire youth to pursue STEM fields. As a Mechanical Design Engineer at Boeing in El Segundo, CA, Sydney leads a cross-functional team in the development of Satellite Reflectors. Reflectors are critical mechanisms in global satellite arrays that redirect radio frequencies (like your GPS!) to desired areas. Throughout Sydney’s career, she has had the opportunity to design 3D-printed satellite parts, deliver structural repairs to Boeing’s fleet of 767 and 777 airplanes, and design and analyze for the 777 floor Redesign effort as well as the 777X Folding Wing-Tip.

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Holly O'Donnell

Twitter: @hollyodonnell00 Instagram: @hollyodonnell_conservationist

Holly O’Donnell is a Scottish conservation biologist and expedition guide with a passion for tropical rainforests and understudied species. She has fieldwork experience in Antarctica, Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru. For two years Holly studied large mammal populations in the Peruvian Amazon followed by a Post Graduate Diploma and three-year research assistantship at the University of Oxford’s WildCRU. Holly is the director of research and co-chair of science and education advisory committee with the ACEER Foundaton.

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Ana María Villada Rosales

Twitter: @toucanrescue Instagram: @toucanrescueranch

Ana María Villada Rosales is the Toucan Rescue Ranch’s Veterinarian Supervisor and helps oversee the Animal Care Department. She graduated from veterinarian school from the Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, and has a Master’s in Conservation Medicine from Murdoch University, Australia. She has worked at zoological collections in Mexico and rescue centers in Australia, mainly working with wildlife since graduating from University.

 

At Toucan Rescue Ranch Ana María oversees the clinic and overall treatments of injured animals. She also manages the caretaking of the sloths and their advancements within the Saving Sloths Together program. Ana is the supervisor of the medical team that is comprised of interns and staff. When needed she travels between the Toucan Rescue Ranch’s Release Sites and headquarters for treatments and preventive medicine for the animals. She assists the Volunteer Coordinator with responsibilities regarding the sanctuary and volunteers and helps oversee the functionality of the rescue center.

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Leslie Howle

Twitter: @toucanrescue Instagram: @toucanrescueranch

Founder and Director or the Toucan Rescue Ranch, Leslie grew up in Costa Rica. Her father was one of the first property developers on the Pacific coast, laying the foundation for ecotourism in the Nosara region. Many years later, back in the United States and working as an Occupational Therapist and Outdoor Adventure Ropes course entrepreneur, with her own growing collection of birds she traveled to the jungles of Peru to study wild macaws.

 

This led her back to her roots in Costa Rica in pursuing her lifelong dream of operating a bird refuge center, for parrots and toucans. However, in 2007 her bird rescue quickly changed when she rescued her first ever mammal: a two-fingered sloth! Today, Leslie’s vision for breeding and refuge for toucans has quickly grown into a fully functioning wildlife rescue center. 

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Archana Anand

Twitter: @AAthalassophile Instagram: @arch_anand

Archana is an engineer and marine biologist. She primarily works on the interface between environmental engineering and coastal marine microbiology. Archana is intrigued by aquatic microbes that drive several vital biogeochemical processes in the land and ocean. Today, she researches microbes in wastewater while developing and applying bioinformatics techniques to understand the mixed microbial communities involved in nutrient removal and cycling.

Archana won the National Geographic Explorer Award in 2019 to support her work in mapping coastal biodiversity in the scientifically understudied Andaman & Nicobar Islands. She obtained her PhD in Ecology & Biodiversity from the University of Hong Kong and her B.Eng from the National University of Singapore.

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Maria Jose Mata Quiros

Twitter: @mari_planta Instagram: @mari.planta

​María José Mata Quirós is the Restoration & Rewilding Program Coordinator at Osa Conservation. She dedicates her time to conserving and restoring tropical forests. As a solutions-oriented conservation scientist, María José develops novel techniques to kick-start rainforest generation and shares these techniques to facilitate the success of other restoration initiatives.

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Erika Bergman

Twitter: @erika_bergman Instagram: @theerikabergman

Erika Bergman is a submersible pilot, a virtual reality engineer, and an enthusiastic ocean explorer. She began her career in chemical oceanography, studying at the University of Washington, while working as a diesel engineer and a steam ship engineer. In 2013 she received a National Geographic grant for her "Classrooms Under the Sea" expedition to live stream video from submersibles. Weaving together her passions for submersible engineering, rich media storytelling, and outreach, she founded Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors (GEECs) to provide a network of engineering camps and mentorship to girls around the world.

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F. Gözde Çilingir

Twitter: @fgcilingir Instagram: @didicikit

F. Gözde is a nature conservationist, geneticist, and conservation advocate. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, she works to bridge the gap between scientific research and real-world application for the genetic conservation of Aldabra giant tortoises native to Seychelles. For the last six years, she has worked to find solutions to conservation problems by applying cutting-edge genomic technologies. Her main work includes contributing to and directing ongoing conservation programs for critically endangered turtles native to Southeast Asia by providing evidence-based scientific information on the current genetic diversity of these animals. She has led and contributed to several turtle conservation outreach programs around the world including in Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, and Turkey.

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Gabby Sykora

Instagram: @sykie_photography3

Gabby is a 13 year old young lady from South Africa, with a huge passion for wildlife photography and conservation. She won the overall Jnr creative arts category at Talent Africa in 2021. She joins us today to talk about fulfilling her dream of bringing all Young Wildlife Photographers in Southern Africa together through their shared passion for wildlife photography and conservation.

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Rebecca Hui

Twitter: @rebeccahui3  Instagram: @rootsstudio

Rebecca is the founder of Roots Studio, which aims to reverse cultural appropriation into celebration. Rebecca is a Forbes 30 Under 30 member, Cartier Women’s Initiative Laureate, Chanel Foundation recipient, and Echoing Green Fellow. She has worked with numerous governments on cultural sustainability and disaster resilience globally MIT, UNESCO, and the World Bank. She began her journey as a Fulbright Scholar and National Geographic Explorer, documenting human-animal coexistence from rural to urban societies.

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Dr Carolina Pinto

Twitter: @osaconservation  Instagram: @caropinto_natura

 

Carolina is an Argentinian wildlife biologist who specializes in community ecology. She has been working with several conservation projects in Latin America for the past 7 years. In 2021 she started working with Osa Conservation as the Wildlife Monitoring Coordinator. She is leading the arboreal connectivity project which includes the installation of wildlife bridges, camera trap monitoring and further citizen science projects to monitor wildlife road use, and roadkill in the Osa Península, Costa Rica. 

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Eleanor Flatt

Twitter: @eleanorsaurio  Instagram: @jungleanor

Eleanor is wildlife biologist working in the rainforests of Costar Rica. She's the Wildlife Monitoring Program Coordinator at Osa Conservation. In 2018, Eleanor was named an Elodie Sandford Explorer by the Scientific Exploration Society.

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Laly Lichtenfeld

Twitter: @LalyLichtenfeld  Instagram: @laly_lichtenfeld

Laly co-founded African People & Wildlife in 2005 to empower rural communities to conserve and benefit from their surrounding wildlife and natural resources. A 20-year resident of Tanzania, Laly specializes in holistic, landscape-level approaches to conservation and community development. As one of the few female CEOs in East African conservation, she is also passionate about elevating rural women as environmental leaders and drivers of social change in their communities. Laly received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2005. She is an accomplished speaker, a Distinguished Alumna of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute, a National Geographic Explorer, a recipient of the 2016 Lowell Thomas Award for Open Space Conservation from the historic Explorers Club, and a 2019 Women of Discovery Awardee. In 2019, Laly was honored to be named a “Woman of Impact” by the National Geographic Society and featured among some of the world’s leading female visionaries in Women of Impact: Changing the World, a one-hour documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel.

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Tori Linder

Twitter: @ToriLinder_ Instagram: @torilinder

Tori Linder has made it her mission to bring attention to the protection of our world’s last wild places as a conservationist and media producer. Currently, she serves as Co-Founder & Managing Director of the Path of the Panther project. Supported by the National Geographic Society, Path of the Panther is inspiring protection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a statewide connected network of private and public lands spanning 18 M acres.

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Kimly Do

Kimly Do is a mechanical engineer and submersible pilot, working with Global Sub Dive. Kimly has been running around designing and prototyping robotics for over a decade. Her portfolio of ridiculous robots ranges from wearable exoskeletons, humanoid motorcycle-riding robots, all the way to several inflatable fabric arms made for NASA. She helps run an underwater robot camp for girls 12-16 hoping to create and mentor a network of strong empowered women who love to explore their curiosities as well as the ocean and wild world they live in.