Meet the Team

We are a small team of passionate and professional conservationists actively protecting the future of endangered animals. The founding members of Wildlife ACT are Dr Simon Morgan, Chris Kelly and Johan Maree. Together they have over 30 years of ecology experience.

Knowledgeable and competent wildlife monitors conduct the monitoring sessions and run the day-to-day activities on the reserves. They are charismatic conservationists who are mostly from research or field guide backgrounds. We all share a love for animals, adventure and preserving the unique South African environment.

Chris Kelly

Co-Founder and Executive Trustee
After working on a fair number of reserves across South Africa, I realised the need for properly managed and funded monitoring programs on reserves which had priority species. Following this Jo, Simon and I got together and established Wildlife ACT in Zululand in 2008.

Johan Maree

Co-Founder and Chairperson
Growing up in rural Africa, I have always been aware of the fact that wildlife conservation efforts and community development needs did not always meet. This is when I made the decision to leave the 9 to 5 world and help establish Wildlife ACT. You can call me Jo!

Dr. Simon Morgan

Co-Founder and Executive Trustee
After completing a degree in Zoology at Stellenbosch University, I moved to Zululand where I was employed as a Black Rhino monitor. It was during this process that we noticed the need for the enhancement and outsourcing of existing monitoring programs, now called Wildlife ACT.

David Ryan

Wildlife ACT Trustee and Founder & CEO of Rhino Africa
I was born in the old-world seaside suburb, Fish Hoek, Cape Town. Living in close proximity to the ocean, I was incredibly lucky to always have an interaction with nature and the outdoors. At the end of the day, I am motivated by my passion for conservation.

Nicole Copley

Wildlife ACT Trustee and NGO Lawyer
Nicole works for a wide range of types and sizes of organisation. She aims to provide a pragmatic and efficient service to all of her clients. She has been working for NGOs for 24 years, and has seen many changes in NGO legislation and the NGO environment, in that time.

Scott Christensen

Wildlife ACT Trustee
I grew up in Minnesota, home of the great outdoors. Drawing upon 4 years in public policy research, a 25-year career in investment banking, and a decade of board service in the education field, I am fortunate now to spend more time on conservation issues I care deeply about.

Di Botha

Wildlife ACT Trustee
Wilderness and my place in it have guided my life’s journey. I grew up in a family that spontaneously took off into the bush in an old Willy’s Jeep station wagon; the dustier the road and more remote, the better. Challenges facing the natural world continue to engage me...

Taryn Gilroy

Brand Communications Manager & Advisory
I was born in Zululand, and although I grew up and was schooled in Durban, I spent the majority of my time on various KZN game reserves with my grandparents, who worked for the Natal Parks Board. I went on to complete a BSc. Hons. in Conservation Biology.

Mark Gerrard

Director: Community Conservation
In Africa, many people living near wilderness areas rely on natural resources. There's a strong connection between the health of the environment & these communities. By exposing people to the work being done to protect these areas I believe that we can generate support for their conservation.

Thandiwe Knutson

Operations Manager
After taking my chicken with a broken leg to the vet when I was very young, I knew I wanted to work with animals. I have a passion and admiration for nature and the conservation of species...

Bronwen Kelly

Reservations Manager
I grew up on a farm near Pietermaritzburg, in KwaZulu-Natal. After completing high school I worked for a few years before attending the University of KwaZulu-Natal to complete my honours degree in BSocSc Media. My husband and I are now based in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi.

Lesley Foster

Accounts Manager
I have had a career in bookkeeping for many years, but working for Wildlife ACT is the merging of my loves of accounting and conservation – basically it is my dream job!

Galen Schultz

Digital Marketing Manager
Hello Internet! I'm Galen which means “curious person” in ancient Greek. Jo found me during an Internet search in July 2015. Next thing I knew I was in the Zululand bush meeting the entire team! I am extremely chuffed to be working for such an inspiring, hard-working and passionate group...

Pippa Orpen

Senior Monitor: Somkhanda
I joined the Wildlife ACT team in July 2014 after spending nine years as a winemaker on my family farm in Stellenbosch. I am particularly lucky to be a part of a rather large pack of African Wild Dogs.

Zama Ncube

Head Black Rhino Monitor & Community Conservation Liaison
I grew up next to a game reserve and listened with fascination to the stories my granny and father shared about the bush, but the decision to become a Rhino Monitor came to light when I was lucky enough to help with the introduction of Black Rhinos to a game reserve as part of the WWF Black...

Thokozani Mlambo

Community Conservation Liaison
Thokozani worked as a guide and wildlife ambassador for many years before joining Wildlife ACT. In 2015 he was honoured with a Conservation Hero Award from the Disney Conservation Fund - an award that recognizes local citizens for their outstanding efforts to protect wildlife and wild places...

Sboniso Mazolo

Community Conservation Liaison
Sboniso has been involved in conservation for many years. Even before joining the Wildlife ACT Team Sboniso had started a few of his own wildlife ambassador clubs. Here he teaches community members about conservation which involves discussing ways to encourage sustainability and reduce...

PJ Roberts

Monitor: Emergency Response Fund
Growing up in Cape Town with the mountains, valleys and ocean surrounding you, it is difficult not to have a real appreciation for the intrinsic value of nature. Inspired to ensure that the natural world continues to function, I embarked upon an adventure I’ve never looked back on.

Ben Lavin

Priority Species Monitor: Tembe
I am living the dream here in Zululand and feel immensely proud and privileged to be associated with such passionate individuals and to be a part of such a focused team.

Francois Retief

Priority Species Monitor: Tembe
I completed my Masters through Stellenbosch University which focused on Spotted Hyena Ecology in the Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. After my studies I took a gap year and drove to the equator in Uganda in my 4x2 vehicle...

Megan Hudson

Priority Species Monitor: uMkhuze
Since childhood I’ve had a powerful pull towards the wild. Growing up visiting reserves has been one of the most eye-opening experiences and has had a huge impact on my becoming a conservationist.

Teegan Parker-Dennison

Priority Species Monitor: uMkhuze
Since I was young I’ve always had a strong passion for wildlife and the outdoors. I studied Nature Conservation in Durban and did my practical year of my studies in Kokstad on a small reserve in the mountains as well as uMkhuze Game Reserve in Zululand.

Danielle Theron

Priority Species Monitor: Manyoni
I decided there was nothing else I would rather do than preserve our beautiful land and chose a career in Nature Conservation. My third year was a real eye-opener which I spent in Senegal.

Nico Kritzinger

Priority Species Monitor: Manyoni
In 2016 I went down to the Eastern Cape where I worked with veterinary students for two years, but I soon realized that I wanted do more conservation work. I've followed the work of Wildlife ACT for a few years and thought that what they did was amazing, and it truly is.

Mike Staegemann

Priority Species Monitor: Hluhluwe
I completed my Undergraduate & Honours degree in Marine Biology and later my Masters in Terrestrial Ecology. After completing my Masters I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to realise my dream by working as a priority species monitor for Wildlife ACT - a real privilege.

Marumo Nene

Priority Species Monitor: Hluhluwe
I was born in Hlabisa, a town in Northern KwaZulu-Natal (Zululand). I grew up and attended school there, after which I moved to Durban to study Public Relations through UNISA. Public Relations was not what I really wanted to do - my real desire was to work in the outdoors.

Fiona Evans

Priority Species Monitor: iMfolozi
I have always had an absolute love and fascination for all aspects of the natural world. Growing up in South Africa, with parents who took us on so many adventures throughout this country, has formed the foundation of my love for nature and being out in the wilderness.

Ryan Mitchell

Priority Species Monitor: iMfolozi
When I was still very young my grandfather started to teach me about birds, mammals and fish from his library, which sparked my love for wildlife. I have always been happiest when outside and in the bush.

Kaylee van Heerden

Priority Species Monitor: Leopard Survey
I studied a BSc Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University and jumped straight into the field after graduation. I first realised I wanted to be involved in ecotourism when I got my position as Volunteer Project Manager for an organisation focusing on the wildlife-conflict...

Stacey Klein Snakenborg

Priority Species Monitor: Leopard Survey
I studied Nature Conservation through the University of South Africa and completed my practical year at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. During this time, I learnt a lot about the need for conservation and started working with lions and just got hooked. This is now my fourth year in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi...