Dr. Femke Broekhuis – Project Director and Principle Investigator
Femke was born in Zambia and raised in Botswana where her love affair with wildlife started. Femke began studying cheetahs in 2007 as part of her Masters dissertation, supervised by Dr. Sarah Durant, investigating cheetah habitat selection in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. From there she joined the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT) to lead the cheetah project and begin her D.Phil research with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford. She spent four years studying cheetahs in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, investigating whether the spatio-temporal behaviour of lions and spotted hyaena influenced that of cheetahs. In June 2013 she was entrusted by the Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) to start up the Mara Cheetah Project. Femke’s publications can be found here.
Mr. David Thuo – Senior Research Assistant
David Thuo is a Kenyan-born and based wildlife biologist. He has a B.Sc. in Wildlife Science and a M.Sc. in Animal Genetics from the University of Nairobi. His thesis, which focused on the genetic variation and population viability of Black Rhino’s in Lake Nakuru National Park, has resulted in scientific publications in internationally peer-reviewed journals. He previously worked as a Research Fellow at the National Museums of Kenya’s Molecular Genetics Laboratory, where he was involved in many of the routine molecular and immunological techniques. David has a special research interest in the use of genetic approaches to answer specific questions of ecology, animal behaviour, evolutionary biology and population health. David’s publications can be found here.
Mr. Symon Masiaine Ole Ranah – Research Assistant
Symon was born and raised in Laikipia County, Mukogodo area. He has a Diploma in Natural Resource Management and a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Management, both from the University of Nairobi. Before working as a senior guide at Ol-lentille Sanctuary, Symon worked for four years as a research assistant on the wild dog project in Laikipia. Symon joined the Mara Cheetah Project at the beginning of 2016. Symon’s publications can be found here.
Mr. Michael Kaelo – Chief Community Officer
Michael was born and raised in Enkobiletai (Enoonkishu Conservancy – Maasai Mara) where he grew up seeing wildlife as he grazed shoats and cattle. He schooled at Masaantare and later Tenwek High School where he was a member of Wildlife clubs and 4K club which nurtured his appreciation and love for nature. In 2005 Michael joined Kenyatta University for a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies and Community Development during which time he was a member of Kenyatta University Environmental club and Youth for Conservation. In January 2012 Michael started his M.A. in Environmental Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi after which Michael joined the Mara Cheetah Project and the Mara Lion Project as the Chief Community Officer. His research interests are geared towards enhancing coexistence between communities, their livestock and wildlife.
Mr. Dominic Kantai Sakat – Community Liaison Officer
Dominic is a Maasai from the Koiyaki region of the Mara with a keen interest in conservation. Throughout his school life he was a member of the conservation club, Friends of Conservation, and was eventually appointed club chairman. In 2007 he enrolled in the Koiyaki Guiding School, where he achieved his bronze KSPGA guiding certificate. In August 2011 Dominic joined the Mara-Naboisho Lion Project. He is now the Community Liason Officer for both the Mara Cheetah Project and the Mara Lion Project and works in the surrounding communities in an effort to reduce human-wildlife conflict.