Governing People

Marlene McCay : FOUNDER & CHAIRPERSON
Marlene

  • Wildlife conservation has been central to Marlene’s life since childhood, when her father founded the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
  • She graduated from University of Cape Town with a bachelor’s degree in languages and philosophy and a diploma in higher education, after which she worked in advertising, marketing and branding.
  • Her passion for conservation led her into working with the EWT, WWF and IUCN on their Conservation Education programmes in Southern Africa. In 1977 she assisted with the publication of the book, “The White Lions of the Timbavati”, and in the same year opened Tanda Tula Safari Camp in the Timbavati, which was to become one of the leading safari lodges in the country. She served on the Executive Committee of the Timbavati for 15 years.
  • She owned, developed and was executive director of Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate for 25 years. The iconic wine estate produced top quality wines and housed three award-winning restaurants, boutique hotel and spa, cricket field and horse-riding stables. She also produced “Constantia Uitsig, the Cookbook”, which has had numerous print reruns.
  • In 1994 Marlene and her husband created and established Asante Sana Private Game Reserve in Graaff Reinet where 19 species of herbivores, including elephants and rhino are flourishing.
  • Marlene is an advisor to Greenpop, who run various greening and reforestation projects.
  • In 2001, Marlene became a Trustee of Save the Elephants (STE), and in 2003 she and Dr Michelle Henley started the Transboundary Elephant Research Programme with STE in the Associated Private Nature Reserves. The research extends across Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, presently continuing as Elephants Alive.

Michelle Henley : DIRECTOR & PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER
Michelle

  • Michelle Henley has worked on topics involving elephant ecology, behaviour & reproductive physiology for some 20 years. She completed her PhD on the sex- and age-related feeding distinctions in the African elephant.
  • In 2003 Michelle co-founded the Transboundary Elephant Research Programme together with  Marlene McCay as the South African branch of Save the Elephants.
  • For the past 12 years she has monitored elephant movements and their social interactions through an identification study and looked at habitat selection throughout the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, straddling South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
  • She has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, popular publications and has contributed towards various books.
  • She has written and illustrated children’s books on elephant conservation, a subject which lies close to her heart.
  • She is a registered Post-doctoral Fellow registered at the Applied Behavioural Ecology and Environmental Research Unit of the University of South Africa and a member of the management committee of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa.
  • In 2009 she received her Post Graduate Certificate in Education (with distinction) in order to be equipped to teach Intermediate and Senior Phase School children about the Environment.
  • In 2013 she received the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa’s National Award for an individual.

Barry Paul : DATABASE MANAGER & INFORMATION SECURITY
Barry

  • Barry was the past division manager of Atlas and past Vice president of the South African Bureau of Standards with many years of experience in Intellectual Property and Patents within both Organisations.
  • He obtained a BSC (Eng) from the University of Natal and a master of Business Leadership Post Graduate Degree from UNISA.
  • He attended the University of Berkeley’s ‘Advanced Management Course’ in California.
  • Barry brings with him a vast amount of experience in Information Technology, database and business management.
  • He regularly visits the Kruger National Park with his wife, children and grand children and works tirelessly to help the elephants where ever he can.

Sarah Smuts : TREASURER & BRANDING

  • Sarah completed her B.Comm degree at UCT and then worked in the graphic design industry for many years. Here she gained experience in running a small business including all aspects of finance, marketing and branding.
  • Sarah is passionate about the environment and conservation and was thrilled to become a member of Save The Elephants – South Africa in 2009 where she worked on many varied projects, including marketing, administration and brand management.
  • She believes in a balance between her personal and business life and lives in Noordhoek, Cape Town, with her husband and 13 year old daughter.

Michellene Munro : PERSONAL ASSISTANT & FIELD ASSISTANT
MichelleneMunro

  • Michellene Munro has recently joined the project as Personal Assistant to Michelle and together with general admin and paperwork, helps with field work and all other areas that may need her assistance.
  • She has a love for the bushveld and its animals, with elephants being very close to her heart. As a teenager, she would help Michelle with elephant identification during school holidays.
  • Michellene is a warranted scouter and thus has particular interest in environmental education and the program planning and running of environmental camps for our youth. She would love to put to use the skills she has learnt from scouting to benefit environmental educational programmes built around pressing elephant conservation needs.

Robin Cook : RESEARCHER
robincook

  • Robin has an Honours degree in Ecology and is currently a Master of Science candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand.
  • He has been involved with various conservation organisations from a young age, providing his support to Friends of the Pilanesberg Society, South African National Parks Honorary Rangers, Rights for Rhinos and Rhino SA.
  • He has been carrying out research through Elephants Alive since January 2014, where he completed his Honours degree research on elephant movement patterns around villages in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. He also assists in various Elephants Alive field work and social media activities.
  • Robin has developed an interest in human-elephant conflict and is currently exploring the use of African honeybees to protect marula trees from elephant effects.

NoCry Mzimba & Collet Ngobeni : FIELD TECHNICIANS
ColletNgobeniNocryMzimba

  • Nocry Mzimba and Collet Ngobeni both come from the local community and speak Shangaan.
  • They form part of a Governmental programme which involves the training of Environmental Monitors.
  • They have a keen interest in research and elephants in particular.
  • These fit, capable and warm-hearted women enjoy acquiring skills to track and identify elephants and will gladly share their local knowledge with you. Very little game will evade their bush-trained eyes so you will be sure to spot many animals whilst in their company.