Global Experts on Rhino Conservation

Interviews with the following global experts on rhino conservation are available upon request. Please contact info@rhinos.org to schedule.

United States

Dr. Susie Ellis
Executive Director, IRF

Dr. Susie Ellis has been the executive director of IRF for the past seven years, overseeing the organization’s administration, fundraising and field conservation programs in Africa and Asia. She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) African Rhino Specialist Group and Asian Rhino Specialist Group, serving as its Red List Authority. Prior to joining IRF, Ellis was a vice president at Conservation International, focusing on terrestrial and marine biodiversity conservation in Asia. She has worked on projects in more than 35 countries during the course of her career, with species ranging from penguins to pandas, and now, rhinos. Ellis has written more than 100 technical papers, proceedings and book chapters. From 1991 to 2001, Ellis was senior program officer for IUCN’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group. She also has worked at the Minnesota Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld in various capacities.

Zimbabwe

Raoul du Toit
African Rhino Program Coordinator, IRF

A native Zimbabwean, Raoul du Toit has coordinated conservation initiatives that have helped to develop and maintain the largest remaining black rhino populations in Zimbabwe. As a central figure in the development of private wildlife conservancies in Zimbabwe during the 1990s, du Toit was one of the few professionals left to keep these rhino breeding projects viable during the turbulent 2000s. He established the Lowveld Rhino Trust in 2009, with support from IRF and other donors, to secure large swaths of protected habitat. Today, du Toit and his small team work in and around the large Lowveld reserves to monitor rhinos, address injuries, reinforce efforts to tackle poaching and build community awareness of the need to conserve rhinos. He also advocates on the international level for rhino protection and has helped reintroduce rhino populations in Botswana and Zambia.

India

Dr. Bibhab Kumar Talukdar
Asian Rhino Program Coordinator, IRF

Bibhab Kumar Talukdar has a master’s degree in zoology with specialization in animal ecology and wildlife biology and completed his Ph.D. on Anatidae. He has been involved in rhino research and conservation since 1996 in South and Southeast Asia. Talukdar is actively engaged with Indian Rhino Vision 2020 in Assam, which aims at translocating greater one-horned rhinos to enhance rhino population and area of occupancy within Assam. He is currently assisting Yayasan Badak Indonesia through IRF to strengthen conservation of critically endangered Javan and Sumatran rhinos.

South Africa

Elise Daffue
Founder, Stop Rhino Poaching

Elise Daffue has been involved in the South African wildlife industry since 2000, when she became secretary of the Wildlife Translocation Association, which was established to professionalize the growing game capture industry. In 2004, she joined Bassair Aviation, a helicopter company specializing in wildlife work, where she managed its wildlife division and later became safety officer. Daffue founded StopRhinoPoaching.com in March 2010 to help address the poaching crisis in South Africa. Drawing on her knowledge and trusted contacts across private, provincial and national parks, Daffue has been able to channel funding support (approximately 5m South African Rand to date [$500,000 USD]) into tangible projects. She sits on the board of the Private Rhino Owners Association’s security committee, as well as the board of the Rhino Action Group Effort (RAGE). Daffue conducted the World Wildlife Fund’s survey of white rhinos on private land in 2012 and assisted with the Rhino Management Group's black rhino survey on private land that same year. StopRhinoPoaching.com focuses on rhino security support for key rhino reserves and established security hubs, as well as relationship building and networking among stakeholders.

Indonesia

Widodo Ramono
Executive Director, Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI)

Indonesian biologist Widodo Ramono is the executive director of Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI) in Bogor, which is the International Rhino Foundation’s principal partner in programs that are helping to ensure the survival of both Sumatran and Javan rhinos. Widodo spends much of his time at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary or inspecting the work of Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) at Bukit Barisan Selatan, Way Kambas and Ujung Kulon National Parks. Since 1969, Widodo has held a variety of civil servant positions in wildlife conservation, notable among them the head of Nature Protection and Conservation of Ujung Kulon National Park. Widodo has also worked in the management of Asian elephant populations in southern Sumatra and the development of three Indonesian national parks (Bukit Barisan Selatan, Kerinci Seblat and Way Kambas). As the former director of biodiversity conservation for Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry, he helped to establish management practices for the country’s national parks, nature and game reserves, recreation forests, and wetlands.