Dr Max Graham

Founder and CEO

Max Graham is a fluent Kiswahili speaker who has worked on environment and development projects in Afghanistan, Ecuador, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Gabon. He has been involved in elephant research and conservation since 2000 and in 2006 was awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has published numerous scientific papers on elephant behaviour, human-elephant conflict and wildlife conservation, and in 2012 became a member of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group. Max is a visiting academic of the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge and the chairman of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum’s Conservation Committee. He has been based in north central Kenya for more than a decade.

Ellen O’Connell

Executive Vice President

Ellen is passionate about conservation, climate change, human rights and the environment, and has spent over three decades in the non-profit arena pursuing her conviction that philanthropy plays a transformative role in the world. Prior to joining Space for Giants, she was the Executive Director of Tusk USA, an African conservation organization focused on community conservation. Ms. O’Connell served as a Vice President at the humanitarian aid organization, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) from 1999 to 2014. Ellen has a Bachelors Degree in English from Georgetown University, a Masters in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service, NYU, and a Masters in Anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

Shamini Jayanathan

Director of Legal Strategy

Shamini Jayanathan is a criminal barrister specialising in building legislative, prosecutorial and judicial capacity in relation to wildlife crime. She drafted resolutions calling for the full range of laws such as money laundering and organised crime legislation to be applied to the illegal wildlife trade, and designed the first baseline surveys monitoring wildlife crime trials in Africa. Her work includes developing charging standards for prosecutors, designing prosecution ‘toolkits’, streamlining inter-agency protocols, and building capacity for wildlife crime in Kenya, Uganda, Gabon, and Botswana.

Dr Lauren Evans

Co-Founder and Director of Conservation

Lauren has worked in elephant conservation in East Africa for 12 years, carrying out a PhD and post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge on human-elephant conflict (HEC) and the politics of elephant conservation in Kenya. She has coordinated Space for Giants’ research and conservation work since the organisation was established. This has included developing regional and national HEC-mitigation strategies in Amboseli, Laikipia and Gabon; understanding elephant behaviour in the context of HEC; assessing the social and political impact of electrified fencing; and working out how to secure land for wildlife amid Africa’s surging economic growth.

George Aike

George Aike

GIS Officer

George has more than 10 years of experience in remote sensing and GIS work. His world-class skills have supported Kenya’s leading research institutions with mapping and GIS analysis solutions. His daily tasks involve working with leading software programmes and emerging applications to create and maintain GIS and RS data, which are combined with geographically-referenced data on land use, land cover, environment, infrastructure, administrative details, in support of Space for Giants’ conservation management.

Samuel Githui

Samuel Githui

West Laikipia Fence Project Officer

A member of the Space for Giants team since early 2013, Sammy now helps implement our Laikipia field programmes.  Sammy collects all the data coming in from the field and keeps a close eye on the movements of our collared bull elephants. He works closely with Wahome and our scouts to mitigate human-elephant conflict, and helps to monitor the illegal killing of elephants, as well as assisting to roll out our drama group across the county.

Joseph Wahome

Joseph Wahome

Elephant Researcher

Joseph Wahome identifies and monitors those elephants in Laikipia whose behaviour drives the greatest challenge that the species faces: conflict with people. These are the fence breakers and the crop raiders. Joseph’s work often includes taking calculated risks to get close to the subjects of his research, when his many years of paramilitary training stands him in good stead. The information he collects is critical to help Space for Giants to understand problem elephants and how best to manage them. Joseph has recently been equipped with tools like camera traps and an early warning system that alerts him when certain collared elephants are nearing fences. These new technologies are helping Joseph to provide a greater variety of information regarding ‘problem animals’ and their behaviour.

Charles in the field

Charles Kinyua

MIKE Officer

Charles focuses on monitoring the illegal killing of elephants. He monitors movements of elephants in poaching hotspots on a daily basis, and gathers information on potential poaching risks. He is also responsible for reporting any incidences of the death of an elephant, be it by natural or illegal causes.

Maurice Schutgens

Laikipia Programme Manager

Maurice is a passionate Conservation Biologist from the Netherlands with his roots firmly in Africa. He spent the two years before joining the Space for Giants team exploring the world, trying to make himself a successful photographer and leading a snow leopard research study in Nepal. Working towards ensuring the future of the world’s last wild places as well as the animals and communities that depend on them is Maurice’s main passion. Securing a future for our gentle Giants fits that bill.

Redempta Njeri Nduguta

Conservation Science Officer

Redempta is passionate about conservation and ecological monitoring, specifically the use of technology to provide information to support decision making. Before working for Space for Giants Redempta was a research assistant at the Kenya Wildlife Service monitoring trends of human wildlife conflicts. Now her role entails delivery of the Loisaba Conservancy conservation strategy, managing conservation research and data collection by field staff, and the implementation of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), which is a data collection tool for rangers to build a long term elephant monitoring database.

Mike Pflanz

Communications Director

Mike spent the decade between 2005 and 2015 as Africa Correspondent for The Daily Telegraph. Conservation – of species and environments, and for people sustainably to benefit from natural resources – seems to Mike to be the number one issue of importance facing modern Africa. Mike will be gathering a small group of African journalists in all four Giants Club countries to become Space for Giants African Conservation Journalism Fellows. Having Africans report strong conservation stories to African media audiences is key to global success in our work, Mike believes.

Martha Cochran

Executive Director, Space for Giants USA

Martha is the former executive director of Aspen Valley Land Trust and has worked in land conservation and land use for decades. She is a former newspaper publisher, business owner and local official, and has been involved with dozens of nonprofit organizations both as a board member and staff. Martha is deeply committed to issues impacting the long-term survival and prosperity of elephants and all species. She has been involved with Space for Giants since 2010 and works from her office in Colorado.

Lexi Bowes-Lyon

Philanthropy Director, Space for Giants USA

Lexi Bowes-Lyon uses her knowledge and connections of the art world to stage unique events to raise funds and create social awareness of the plight of Africa’s elephants.  She is instrumental in working with donors to fund critical projects and is at the forefront of innovation and forward thinking on how the philanthropic community can stay current in today’s world. She is deeply committed to conservation and her love of the natural world. Lexi grew up in Scotland and now lives and works in New York City.

Faith Maina

Wildlife Crime Court Monitoring Officer

Faith was a Litigation Associate before joining Space for Giants. Now her role includes monitoring wildlife crime cases in Kenya, especially those involving ivory or rhino horn, to help inform sentencing decisions and improve prosecution rates. She works closely with Kenya’s Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Police Service, and the Kenya Wildlife Service, offering informed advice and assisting with problematic wildlife cases.