WildTrack was founded in 2004 by Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai, a veterinarian and wildlife biologist who had been working for many years in Africa monitoring black and white rhino. While in Zimbabwe, in the early 1990’s, they collected and presented data to show that invasive monitoring techniques used for black rhino were negatively impacting on female fertility. In their search for alternative approaches they worked with indigenous trackers to develop a footprint identification technique. Interest from researchers around the world who needed a cost-effective and non-invasive approach to wildlife monitoring sparked the formation of WildTrack.
President and co-Founder: Zoe Jewell (President). M.Sc. (Lond.) MA., Vet. M.B. (Cantab). M.R.C.V.S.
Zoe Jewell has an M.Sc in Medical Parasitology from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (London University) and a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Cambridge. She has published widely on wild animal monitoring using non-invasive approaches and animal monitoring ethics. She is currently a Principal Research Associate at the JMP division of the SAS Institute, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, and an Associate Academic at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Director and co-Founder. Sky Alibhai, B.Sc. D.Phil (Zoology, University of Oxford, UK).
Sky Alibhai has a B.Sc. in Zoology from Makerere University, Uganda, and a D.Phil in small mammal population dynamics from the University of Oxford. He is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London and a member of the Society of Conservation Biology. He has published widely on wild animal monitoring using non-invasive approaches. He is currently a Principal Research Associate at the JMP division of SAS, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, and an Associate Academic at the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.
Karin. R. Schwartz, Ph.D. Scientific Coordinator for the ConservationFIT project
Karin R. Schwartz is a conservation biologist with over 20 years of experience in data management processes as applied to conservation within zoological institutions as well as for field research for endangered species. She holds a M.Sc. in animal behavior from the University of Missouri – St. Louis where she studied individual recognition through olfactory communication in prairie voles. She recently completed a Ph.D. in conservation biology at George Mason University where she worked on research to link in situ and ex situ data management processes for endangered species recovery programs through the use of Species360 Zoological Information Management System. As Registrar at the Milwaukee County Zoo, she initiated and led the development of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) records-training programs for use of Species360 software and continues to act as co-administrator of the Institutional Records-Keeping Course which is taught as part of the AZA Professional Training Schools. She has taken this course on the road for capacity building to other zoo regions, holding sessions for the 10th Congress of Asociación Latinoamericana de Parques Zoológicos, Acuarios y Afínes (ALPZA) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation for their SAZARC/RSG meeting in Coimbatore, India and the Korean Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Seoul, S. Korea.
WildTrack Board of Directors (alphabetical order)
Legal Officer: James Baker B.S., J.D. Attorney at Law
Jim is an attorney with the law firm of Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to entering private practice, Jim had a judicial clerkship with the Hon. John R. Jolly, Jr. at the North Carolina Business Court. Jim earned a J.D. from UNC Chapel Hill in 2008 and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. He currently lives in Carrboro, North Carolina with his wife Emily and son Quentin.
Accounting Officer: Laurie Durham, BA. Finance Director, SAS.
Lorie graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from North Carolina State University in 1989. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. She worked in the audit division of Ernst & Young for five years and then for SAS in the Finance division. She is currently a Finance Director with a variety of responsibilities. She manages the US Accounts Receivable, US Project Accounting, and Intercompany teams at SAS Corporate HQ. Her team is also responsible for worldwide Finance policies and for legal reporting on a consolidated basis in accordance with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. She believes in giving back to the community and participates in various volunteer opportunities including serving as treasurer for a mission-based biking group, volunteering at the SPCA, and participating in national and international mission trips.
Charles Hall graduated from NCSU with a BSc in Computer Science (that was back in punch card days!). After that he spent five years working in agriculture (Cotton Inc., USDA Boll Weevil Eradication Trial Program), then two and a half years at NorTel, or as it was then known, Northern Telecom. He then spent four years developing software for the H.E.L.P. system at Rex Hospital. During this time he also taught C and Snobol classes at NCSU for several semesters. Seven years at the News & Observer included time writing programs for the pre-press and classified departments and then support of the pioneering Nando internet hosting service and website. Just prior to coming to SAS, he spent three and a half years at Total Sports, a now defunct dotcom. He has been at SAS in the intranet support team since 2000. Volunteer activity has included several years on the board of directors of the Raleigh City Museum and three years supporting the EV Challenge website (a competition for high school electric car builders). He currently supports the Wild Track website
Field Conservation Officer: Rudie Jansen Van Vuuren. M.B. B.S. Medical Practitioner and Wildlife Conservationist, Namibia.
Rudie has been working as a medical doctor in Namibia for more than a decade. He has also competed for the country in both cricket and rugby World Cups and enjoys flying his CESNA 182 during his limited free time. Since his marriage with his wife Marlice, the conservation and research of vulnerable and threatened Namibian wildlife has become increasingly more important in his life and together the couple started the N/a’an ku sê Foundation in 2005, working in the fields of wildlife rehabilitation and research, predominantly with large predators such as cheetah, leopard, African wild dog and brown hyena. As a Managing Director of the Foundation Rudie has been intensively involved in large carnivore management and is Chairman of the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia. Free-ranging large carnivores are monitored on livestock properties as well as after translocation into nature reserves. In addition to the wildlife focus, the Foundation established a medical clinic as well as a pre-primary school to support the indigenous San community of Namibia. In 2012, Rudie stepped away from his medical career to devote all his efforts and attention towards wildlife management and conservation medicine. N/a’an ku sê is collaborating with WildTrack in the development of new, and less invasive, carnivore tracking techniques.
Marketing officer: Diana Levey, M.A. Senior Marketing Director, JMP Division of SAS, North Carolina.
A communications professional since 1989, Diana Levey is currently Marketing Director for SAS, where she manages marketing communications globally for the JMP division of the Cary, NC-based software company. Levey was the founding editor of sascom, the award-winning flagship magazine of SAS. Levey’s involvement with WildTrack began with a data collection project of tiger paw prints in 2002, where she met and worked with the group’s founders. Levey’s first professional communications position was with Animals magazine, published by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It was there that she took a keen interest in animal conservation, seeking opportunities to write for and about animal welfare. As a freelance writer and photographer, Levey’s work has been published by the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Committee for UNICEF and the Los Angeles Zoo. Levey earned a Master’s of Technical and Professional Writing from Northeastern University, Boston, in 1991, and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English with a Biology Minor from Barton College in Wilson, NC, in 1988. She is a native of Morehead City, NC, and is a certified scuba diver.
Joseph Morgan, Technology and Innovation Officer
Joseph Morgan is a principal research statistician in the JMP division of SAS. Before joining SAS, he was a full-time faculty member in the School of Computer Science at DePaul University, where he taught computer science, software engineering, and data analysis/applied statistics classes. His research interests include combinatorial design methods, software reliability theory, and empirical software engineering. His publications have appeared in IEEE Transactions on Reliability, International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Safety Engineering plus several conference proceedings.
WildTrack Principal Research Associates
Peter R Law. B. Sc. (Sydney) D. Phil. (Mathematics, Univ. of Oxford).
Pete Law is resident in NY State and undertakes independent mathematical and ecological modelling research. His work with Wildtrack has led to his keen interest in the application of tracking to scientific studies and its practice. Through the affiliation with Wildtrack, he has had the opportunity to engage in field work in southern Africa, Borneo, and the Canadian arctic. Additionally, he is engaged in applying his mathematical training to analyze problems in biology, particularly through modelling. Current projects include modelling population dynamics and conservation strategies.
Jonah Evans. M.S (Texas A&M). Texas Parks & Wildlife Diversity Biologist.
Jonah Evans is the Mammalogist (non-game) for theTexas Parks and Wildlife Department. He conducts research, conservation, and restoration projects on a wide variety of species. He is also the state coordinator for mountain lions and black bears. Jonah has extensive experience with animal track identification and as a certified CyberTracker Evaluator, he has led numerous workshops and certifications. He also wrote a field guide to animal tracks for the iPhone and iPad called “iTrack Wildlife”. Jonah began working with WildTrack to develop a mountain lion database in 2009 and collected track photos from 37 captive mountain lions which has formed the foundation database for this species. Jonah is currently working to develop field trials to field test FIT for the mountain lion.
John Ponte, Software Developer, SAS Institute
John is a software developer specializing in graphics, visualizations, image processing and mapping. His work has appeared in movies, magazine covers and text books and has been presented at technical conferences. By day, John is a mild-mannered developer, developing visualizations for JMP – an interactive statistical discovery product of SAS Institute. In his spare time over the last few years, he has worked with WildTrack to develop software algorithms and methods for helping to identify animal footprints in an automated fashion.
Florian J Weise, Ph.D., Ongava Research Centre, Namibia
Researching wildlife in Africa’s vast landscapes, Florian soon appreciated the value of ancestral tracking methods, including the identification and interpretation of spoor. He learned expert tracking in Namibia where his carnivore monitoring work with indigenous San trackers prompted a collaboration between N/a’an ku se Foundation and WildTrack to develop FIT for the endangered cheetah. The cat’s elusiveness and far-ranging nature in Namibia’s extreme environments motivated the joint development of a non-invasive monitoring method that relied entirely on their footprints. The project required several years of collecting reference footprints from known cheetahs and international collaboration with several zoos and other researchers, until Cheetah FIT was finally launched in 2015. Florian continues to work on wildlife research and conflict mitigation topics in southern Africa. Together with WildTrack, he also keeps exploring opportunities for non-invasive sampling of endangered and sensitive species.
WildTrack Graphic Designer, Steve Jenness: Artist, Graphic Artist, Photographer, Videographer, Writer.
Steve is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with almost 30 years in the graphic arts field. His affiliation with Wildtrack began as a Rhinowatch volunteer during the 1997 field season in Zimbabwe, continued as a field assistant in Zimbabwe and Namibia, and is still engaged today. His logo design was inspired by having been in the field. “It just felt right.” Steve is also an avid historian and team leader with the Pompeii Food and Drink project in Pompeii, Italy. website: www.stevejenness.com .
Steve’s account of working with WildTrack in Africa is here
An example of Steve’s graphic design is in the WildTrack logo, below.