The Team

Advisory Team

Janice (Jan) Reed-Smith, M.A.

AON Director; Rubondo Otter Project team member; IUCN-SSC OSG member

Jan did her Master’s project on the habitat use and behavior of spotted-necked otters on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania

Margherita Bandini, M.S.

AON Tech; AON Public Relations Director; AON Management Board; IUCN/SSC OSG member and Publications and Media Officer

Margherita has been working for and with otters for ten years in both research and media managing. Together with Nicole Duplaix, she has co-authored a book called “We Love Otters!”

Carol Bennetto

AON Management Board; AON Education and Outreach Director; IUCN-SSC OSG Education coordinator and member

Carol has an extensive background working in education and with otters at UK zoos.

Dr. Thomas Serfass, PhD

AON Management Board; Frostburg State University; Rubondo Otter Project Head; IUCN-SSC OSG member

Tom is well known for his work on Nearctic otters as well as leading the research team looking at otters of Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania

Dr. Trevor McIntyre, PhD

AON Management Board; Mammal Research Institute; Department of Zoology & Entomology, University of Pretoria

Trevor has students looking at otter issues in South Africa.

Dr. Mordecai (Mordy) Ogada, PhD

AON Advisory Member; Wetlands Policy Consultant, Kenya, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Rowan Jordaan, M.S.

AON Advisory Member; University of Pretoria (study institution), IUCN-SSC OSG member

Rowan is completing his Master’s on the Cape clawless and spotted-necked otter in South Africa.

Dr. Nicola Okes, PhD

AON Advisory Member; University of Cape Town (study institution)

Nicola did her PhD on Cape (African) clawless otters.

Dusty Lombardi

AON Advisory Member; AZA SCTAG Chair, Retired Director of Living Collection, Columbus Zoo, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Dusty serves as the Chair for the American Association of Zoos & Aquariums Small Carnivore Taxon Advisory Group

Dr. Klaus Koepfli, PhD

AON Advisory Member; Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Klaus has studied the comparative genomics and phylogenetics of otters.

Dr. Helene Jacques, DVM

AON Management Board; IUCN-SSC OSG member and co-coordinator for Africa

Helene is a veterinarian in France who has worked extensively in Central Africa on otter issues.

Dr. Hugues Akpona, PhD

AON Management Board; Congo Landscape Manager; African Wildlife Foundation; IUCN-SSC OSG member

Hugues did his PhD on spotted-necked otters in Benin.

Dr. Patrice Bada

AON Advisory Member; African Mobile Nature, Benin

Patrice works with local conservation and wildlife issues of Western Africa.

Dr. Pat Foster-Turley, PhD

AON Advisory Member; IUCN-SSC OSG member, USAID Consultant

Pat has far ranging otter expertise and was one of the founders of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group

Dr. Jo Thompson, PhD

AON Advisory Member; Lukuru Foundation, President/Executive Director, Democratic Republic of Congo, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Jo is a primatologist who founded the Lukuru project; she has branched out to look at the Congo clawless otter.

Dr. David Rowe-Rowe, PhD

AON Advisory Member; Retired Natal Parks Board, IUCN-SSC OSG member

David worked for 30 years as a wildlife biologist for the Natal Parks Board in South Africa and did some of the ground-breaking studies on South Africa’s otters.

Dr. Kristin Brzeski, PhD

AON Advisory Member; NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Kristin works as part of the Biodiversity Initiative team in Equatorial Guinea.

Dr. Michael Somers, PhD

AON Advisory Member; Univ. of Pretoria; IUCN-SSC OSG member and Continental Coordinator for Africa

Megan Isadore

AON Advisory Member; Director of the River Otter Ecology Project, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Nicci Wright

AON Advisory Member; Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist, Executive Director of the African Pangolin Working Group, IUCN-SSC OSG member

Thabang Madisha

AON Advisory Member; National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, working on a PhD on genetics of the African clawless otter and spotted-necked otter

Engedasew Andarge

AON Advisory Member; PhD Candidate – Addis Ababa Uni (AAU): researching genetics and otter-human conflict issues in Lake Tana area

Samson Dognimon

Benin – spotted-necked otter and fishermen conflict

Chabi Djagoun

Benin – University Professor, leading the otter-fishermen conflict project

Hobokela Mwamjengwa

AON Tanzania Outreach Coordinator; TANAPA Outreach Warden, Mt Kilimanjaro NP

Grace Yoxon

AON Advisory Member; International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) Director

Grace is co-founder of IOSF and has been working on otters worldwide since 1993.  She helped to organise the first sub-Saharan otter training workshop held in Tanzania in 2015