Meet the team
Introducing the team leaders behind ZSL's conservation work.
Professor Jonathan Baillie
Conservation Programmes Director
Professor Jonathon Baillie is responsible for conservation projects focusing on threatened species and habitats in over 50 countries around the world.
Professor Baillie’s research focus lies in defining the status and trends of the world’s species and ecosystems. He has been the lead editor on a number of the IUCN Red Lists and the lead editor of Evolution Lost: Status of the World’s Vertebrates , and has played a key role in developing a number of major biodiversity indicators such as the WWF Living Planet Index , the IUCN Red List Index and the Wildlife Picture Index .
In 2007 he founded the EDGE of Existence Programme with a team at ZSL. It is the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history. He also helped lead a recent experiment called Project Ocean , in partnership with Selfridges & Co, to essentially make sustainably sourced fish fashionable.
A further interest of his is indentifying ways to leverage the effectiveness of the conservation community through creating innovative funding mechanisms, developing new conservation tools and techniques, scaling up training and capacity building efforts and encouraging large-scale conservation planning processes.
EDGE of Existence Programme Manager
Carly manages the EDGE of Existence programme , which seeks to conserve the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. These irreplaceable species are not are not only on the verge of extinction but are also totally unique in the way they look, live and behave. Examples include the long-beaked echidna (one of only two types of egg-laying mammal), the Chinese giant salamander (a newt that has reached human proportions) and the West Indian solenodons (the only mammals capable of injecting venom into their prey through their teeth).
As Programme Manager, Carly is responsible for raising awareness of poorly-known EDGE species, establishing targeted conservation projects for those that have previously been overlooked, and building local capacity for EDGE species conservation through supporting future conservation leaders in regions in which they occur.
Carly has managed the EDGE of Existence programme since its launch in 2007. Prior to this she undertook behavioural ecology fieldwork for the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project , which entailed following wild orang-utans to collect data on diet, activity patterns and social behaviour. Carly became interested in developing ways of balancing human interests with the needs of wild animals and their habitats during her time in Borneo, when she witnessed first-hand the impact of illegal logging and hunting on the rainforest and its inhabitants.
Dr Gitanjali B Bhattacharya
South and Central Asia Programme Manager
Dr Bhattacharya graduated from Columbia University with a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and an MA in Conservation Biology. Her research is primarily focused on investigating the effects of prescribed burning on the nutritional ecology of floodplain grasslands and consequently how it affects the distribution of Greater one- horned rhinos and other sympatric herbivores across the human dominated landscape of East and North-east India.
Gitanjali is keen to assist in informing effective public policy through rigorous science and engaging with local communities. A graduate of the Wildlife Institute of India, she has gained from a comprehensive field-based training coupled with a sound background in the theory of wildlife science and management. During her PhD tenure she taught courses in field biology, conservation biology and evolution.
Gitanjali’s research interests include mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, resource partitioning and niche relationships, ecology of large mammalian herbivores, herbivore-grassland dynamics, conservation policy and tropical ecology.
To Be Appointed
East and South-East Asia Programme Manager
Head of Regional Programmes
Sarah Christie has worked for ZSL since 1983. She began as a zoo-keeper at ZSL London Zoo and progressed to a position in the curatorial office where she took on responsibility for the European zoo breeding programmes for Amur (Siberian) and Sumatran tigers and Amur leopards. Sarah's emphasis on generating maximum conservation benefits from these zoo populations of highly endangered big cats led to the establishment of the 21st Century Tiger and ALTA (Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance) funding streams for field conservation, publication of the edited volume “Riding the Tiger: Tiger conservation in human-dominated landscapes” in 1999 – a milestone publication in the field – and also led to a strong tiger field conservation programme at ZSL. During her time as manager of ZSL's East and Southeast Asia programme, ZSL developed a range of field projects for tigers, including a “Tiger-friendly carbon credits” REDD+ project in Berbak National Park, Indonesia and a PhD study on the use of GPS-collar monitored translocations as a tool for mitigating tiger-human conflicts, also in Indonesia.
In Bangladesh, ZSL is working with the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh to implement the Bangladesh National Tiger Action Plan, and in the Russian Far East ZSL has an expanding programme of Amur tiger protection and study, based in Lazovsky Nature Reserve and running alongside a long-term planning process that aims to establish a second “insurance” wild population of Amur leopards, via reintroduction of offspring from zoo-bred leopards. Sarah is now Head of Regional Programmes at ZSL, with oversight of ZSL's field projects in Africa and Asia as well as a strong continuing focus on the synergistic conservation benefits of zoo-wild linkages.
West and North Africa Programme Manager
Chris is responsible for ongoing projects in Gabon, Cameroon, Ghana and new initiatives in Sierra Leone, Liberia and across North Africa. He has been with ZSL in London since 2007 having previously spent a year working as a consultant for ZSL in Sierra Leone where he was responsible for assessing the impacts of a Hydro-electric Project on primates and other mammals.
Before joining ZSL he spent time working on other projects around the world including Cross River State in Nigeria where he worked first for the Centre for Education, Research and Conservation Of Primates And Nature (CERCOPAN), a small NGO working on primate rehabilitation, environmental education, community rainforest conservation, and research, followed by the Wildlife Conservation Society where he was responsible for their work on the Cross River gorilla.
He is now a Trustee of CERCOPAN and, due to his experience in West Africa, was recently appointed Co-Chair of the new pygmy hippo subgroup to the IUCN SSC Pigs, Peccaries and Hippos Specialist Group.
Dr Noëlle Kümpel
Central, East and South Africa Programme Manager
Noëlle has experience in practical conservation, research, project management and policy with a diverse range of organisations such as IUCN, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Conservation International, VSO and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, including many years working on the ground in countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia.
She specialises in tropical forest conservation and has carried out doctoral and postdoctoral research on the sustainability and socio-economics of bushmeat hunting and trade in West and Central Africa with Imperial College London and University College London.
She started her career at ZSL in 2001 in the Institute of Zoology and since 2007 has been based in ZSL’s Conservation Programmes department, heading the Central, East and Southern Africa Conservation Programme. She is responsible for the management of projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon and Ghana carrying out capacity building, protected area management support, development of sustainable livelihoods and conservation finance and socio-economic and ecological research and monitoring.
She also coordinates the UK Bushmeat Working Group, a policy forum funded by the UK government, and is part of the team providing scientific advice to GLOBE’s International Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems.
Dr Heather Koldewey
Head of Global Programmes and International Marine & Freshwater Programme Manager
Following a first-class honours degree at the University of Plymouth, Heather completed a PhD (Genetics) at the University of Wales, Swansea. In 1997, Heather became the Curator of the Aquarium and Reptile House at London Zoo. Since starting at the Zoological Society of London, Heather has worked to advance the role of aquariums in fish conservation globally.
In 1998, she facilitated a series of workshops that established the first coordinated conservation breeding programmes for fish and aquatic invertebrates in European aquariums. She has co-chaired this initiative since its inception and was recently appointed as the Aquarium Committee Chair for the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums following her role in developing the global aquarium conservation strategy.
One of her most rewarding moments was being involved in the designation of the world’s largest Marine Protected Area in the Chagos/British Indian Ocean Territory and she continues a role in developing a research strategy for the region. She retains an active engagement in research, supervising PhD students (working in the Philippines, Portugal and Sri Lanka), publishing papers and was recently appointed an Adjunct Professor at the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada.
She is fortunate to work with a committed and dynamic international team who are making real progress in a wide diversity of aquatic conservation initiatives.
UK and Europe Programme Manager
Alison is an ecologist with over 13 years of experience of tropical and temperate aquatic ecosystems including estuarine, mangrove and coral reef habitats. She has a wide range of skills and abilities as a marine research scientist and project manager.
She joined ZSL in 2003 as the Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programme Manager. Having recently had a baby, life commitments have shifted her geographical focus and Alison now manages the UK, UK Overseas Territories and European elements of the global Marine and Freshwater Programme. She is also responsible for developing and managing a coherent set of conservation projects that achieve the conservation of aquatic wildlife and their habitats.
Alison has led projects around the world including Mozambique, Tanzania, Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Dubai, Oman, Georgia and the UK. Her main areas of expertise include community-based natural resource management; small-scale sustainable fisheries; mangrove rehabilitation; establishing marine protected areas; and protected species surveys and conservation.
Dr Matthew Gollock
International Marine and Freshwater Conservation Assistant Programme Manager
Matthew has worked at ZSL since 2008 and is presently the assistant manager for the International marine conservation programme and oversees the running and development of number of ZSL’s conservation projects. These include the tidal Thames conservation project, a community-based freshwater fisheries management project in Nepal, the establishment of the Chagos/BIOT Marine Protected Area and the subsequent development of a monitoring programme in the region and open-ocean generally, the EDGE Sharks project , the development of a sustainable seafood policy for ZSL, and leading specifically on the conservation work relating to the European eel at ZSL. He is also interested in new methods of promoting conservation and has been involved in a number of art-based initiatives that ZSL has taken part in.
Matthew has been working in the field of fish biology and conservation for over 12 years. He gained his doctorate studying the effects of the invasive parasite Anguillicoloides crassus on European eels, and continues to work at the forefront of the conservation of this species, including leading the development of an IUCN Anguillid specialist sub-group. He has experience of a range of remote tagging techniques of marine creatures, and is interested in how they can be used to understand how their behaviour and physiology is affected by changes in environmental variables.
Business and Biodiversity Programme Manager
Liz joined ZSL in 2011 to coordinate the Society’s approach towards advising the private sector on conserving species and habitats. This includes providing industry with the latest science and tools for monitoring and managing biodiversity and developing, promoting and implementing biodiversity related industry standards. The programme also engages at a policy level with the business and biodiversity deliverable of the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Liz is part of the Conservation Programme’s Science to Government and Industry Unit, which also oversees ZSL’s internal Sustainability Programme managed through its ISO14001 certified Environmental Management System.
Liz has a BSc in Zoology from Imperial College London and a Masters in Environmental Policy from Cambridge University. Prior to joining ZSL she worked for several years as a biodiversity and climate change consultant, working on both policy and impact assessment at a major international consultancy. Liz is Co-Chair for the Biodiversity and Ecology Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) and is qualified as an Associate of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).