WEI call upon over 20 specialist staff each year to support our core team of dedicated managers, research technicians and educators. Our temporary staff are too many to list here, but please click on our permanent staff members to find out a little more about us.
Field Technician - Greater Kruger
Caz was born and raised in South Africa, traveling extensively through this beautiful country from a very young age, mainly thanks to parents with a great passion for exploring nature and the wilderness.
Naturally she inherited a love for wildlife, storytelling and photography, and decided she would dedicate her life to sharing her appreciation for the natural world. As soon as she could, Caz studied field guiding and spent the following years working as a safari and photographic guide some of South Africa’s top game reserves, all whilst honing her skills in tracking, animal behaviour, bird identification and wildlife photography.
After building up an immense knowledge in the field, Caz decided that she wanted to give back to conservation, joining WEI in 2008 to lead our training and conservation research programme in the Greater Kruger National Park. Not just content with that, she also completed her studies in wildlife management at the same time!
Caz currently runs our project in Stuwig Eco Reserve and seems to still love hauling herself out of bed before the sun each morning to go out on surveys.
Johan grew up in Pretoria and even though he spent most of his school and university years in the city, he fondly remembers many a holiday to the family farm in Natal. This sparked his love for nature, wilderness and wide open spaces. Johan worked in his early career as a legal assistant, director of a specialist travel service provider, and later as a business development manager for a global retail travel group. Throughout his career in business and the corporate sector he always nurtured his love for nature and wildlife by means of regular visits to many of the wilderness areas, parks and game reserves around South Africa. In 2005, Johan pursued his passion for South Africa and established a unique volunteer tourism organisation which provides manpower and funding for conservation efforts in the region.
As a Founder of this organisation he realized the need for an effective platform whereby stakeholders in conservation can engage with the international scientific community and first world travellers to further conservation and research aims in local areas of ecological importance. WEI was birthed in 2008 to foster such collaboration and resulted in many applied research projects between game reserves, conservation managers, university students, academic researchers, land owners and reserve managers.
Community Programme Coordinator - Sodwana
Sarah’s passion is to develop partnerships between environmental initiatives and community development. Her degree in Biological Anthropology kick-started a real desire to undertand and improve the interactions between healthcare, education, community development, and environmental preservation.
Her first experience in ecology was gained in Turks and Caicos, where she studied the effects of tourism on the island environment. Through this experience she came to develop a deep appreciation for the dynamic relationships between environmental health, community development and personal well-being.
Sarah then worked as a researcher at a law firm that advocated for medical benefits for those afflicted with neurological syndromes. While the research was fascinating, after two years of being tethered to her desk she decided to trade in her business attire for a wetsuit and some (frequently broken) flip-flops and return to field work.
She has been involved in a number of projects both at home and abroad, including benthic composition studies along the Meso-American barrier reef in Belize, acting as a mobile educator for a community health clinic, managing a reef ecology program for British school students studying in Indonesia, and initiating a community composting project in her hometown.
Sarah’s first experience in South Africa came in 2008, when she spent a semester studying at the University of Cape Town. After returning to the country in 2014 and working closely with the WEI team in Sodwana Bay she fell in love with the small town and its community, and jumped at the opportunity to help oversee our social projects there.
Research and Training Manager
Dr. Nkabeng Maruping-Mzileni completed an Advanced Major in Biology at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. She returned home to southern Africa to follow her interest in Conservation Ecology. Nkabeng holds an Honours and Masters in Wildlife Management from the University of Pretoria. In 2015 she obtained a DTech in Nature Conservation from Tshwane University of Technology. Her dissertation topic, bovine tuberculosis in African lions, addressed ecological knowledge gaps while stimulating new research. During her studies she had the African bush as her home, including the Kruger National Park. Nkabeng 's lecturing experience includes Game Ranch Management, Nature Conservation and Eco-tourism. In her current position as Research and Training Manager with WEI, Nkabeng has spread her focus to cover a wider ecological range.
Ian was raised in a town south of Johannesburg called Vereeniging. After finishing school he started a working career as a male nurse but quickly decided to trade the busy city life in for a more exciting one in the bush. Before working for WEI Ian worked in Dinokeng Game Reserve on a private reserve called Welgedacht. Ian now finds himself at Rusermi in Balule Game Reserve working with volunteers from all over the world. IAn plays a critical role in helping to collect important information to help understand and preserve the beauty that is the Africn bush.
Marine Project Coordinator
Rowan has been leading WEI's marine ecology training programmes in Sodwana Bay since October 2011. He is a fully integrated member of the Sodwana community and has developed close links with dive operators, research organisations in the area, as well as developing new partnerships for our citizen science programmes and international training courses.
Rowan spent his early years near Cape Town dreaming of explorations under the waves. A few years in the Kalahari Desert, five years at a British boarding school, studies at Rhodes University, and a job as a journalist in Johannesburg did little to 'dampen' his interest in the ocean, and he started a professional diving career in 2010. A PADI Instructor and a qualified Commercial Class 4 diver with over 700 logged dives (recreational, commercial and scientific), Rowan travelled the World volunteering his time to many international projects before moving to Sodwana. From teaching in Thailand, to marine work in Bali, and assisting research work at the loggerhead and leatherback sea turtle research station in Bhanga Nek in northern KwaZulu-Natal, he’s developed an inspiring interest in the conservation of our natural resources.
Rowan has also used his strong community links to develop a number of social development programmes in local schools and community centres, before handing over management of these projects at the beginning of 2014.
Tomos was one of the original WEI team, leading the research and training programme development up until 2015. Now the Head of Conservation & Development for WWT and an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University, Tomos maintains an interest in WEI's work, and offers advice on conservation strategy and project development.