DR. ANDREW STEIN, founder and director of CLAWS, is an assistant professor of natural science at Landmark College and adjunct faculty to University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has over a decade of experience studying human- carnivore conflict—from African wild dogs and lions in Kenya and Botswana to leopards and hyenas in Namibia.
Andrew grew up fascinated by nature documentaries of exotic wildlife in far off destinations. A native of central Massachusetts, the opportunities to explore and contribute to wildlife conservation seemed unlikely until his study abroad trip to Kenya through the School for Field Studies. There he saw a confluence of his greater interests in culture, wildlife conservation and problem solving.
Motivated by a clear vision of purpose, he was driven to return to Africa to make a contribution to the wildlife he was passionate about and the people that faced the challenges of living with their livestock among Africa's great predators. Since his 2001 leopard study in South Africa, Andrew has become a leader in leopard conservation as he continued on for his PhD field study on Namibian farmlands and leopard feeding ecology in Botswana. In recent years he has been chosen to assist in national leopard surveys and lead an international team for the IUCN Red List to assess the global status of leopard. He has expanded his interests to explore non-lethal approaches to mitigate livestock conflict with lions in Northern Botswana and wolves on Montana ranchland.
Andrew has published a dozen scientific articles, organized field training course with the Smithsonian Institution and been featured in wildlife documentaries on National Geographic Wild and BBC Wildlife. He is also a member of both the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and Hyaena Specialist Group.
DR. FLORIAN WEISE, Program Co-ordinator Pride in Our Prides
“Flo” has many years of experience studying African wildlife mainly in a context of alleviating human-wildlife conflicts. Once he departed from his home grounds in Berlin (Germany), Flo studied Wildlife Management in Tanzania, then pursued graduate degrees in Animal Behaviour and Conservation Biology in the UK. Despite his international education, Flo conducted most of his work in Africa. For example, he managed a large carnivore conservation program in Namibia between 2008-2014, including conflict mitigation projects on cheetah, leopard, brown hyaena and African wild dog. Beyond carnivores, Flo’s experience encompasses elephants and a variety of game studies.
An outdoors enthusiast, Flo thoroughly enjoys field work in extreme environments as well as direct interaction with African communities with whom he collaborates extensively. He strongly believes that researchers and conservationists need to experience conditions first-hand to fully grasp the realities and implications of their work. The focus of his studies has always been applied research and development of pragmatic conflict resolution and research tools that improve coexistence of humans and wildlife. During his projects, Flo gained expert skills in wildlife tracking and management, ranging from footprint identification in the field to relocating threatened animals.
With his diverse experience, multiple languages and publication background, Flo advises government agencies on wildlife management issues, supports forums such as Namibia’s Large Carnivore Management Association, and he continues to collaborate with colleagues on a wide variety of wildlife topics and species. His work has been featured on TV and in different print and online media of National Geographic, BBC, Financial Times, Africa Geographic and many more.
ERIC LEFLORE — Eric is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) and is a Massachusetts native. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Connecticut College in 2011, he started graduate school at UMass and received a Master’s degree from his current department for his work studying the distribution of coyote, red fox and gray fox in Massachusetts. Eric began field work for Pride in Our Prides in conjunction with a Fulbright Research Grant to Botswana in 2014. It’s been a dream of Eric’s since he was a child to study lions in Africa, however while he works on one of their main predators, Burchell’s zebra are his favorite species in the Delta.
MATHATA "PRO" TOMELETSO - Pro is a resident of Eretsha, one of our focal villages. He is the oldest of 7 children and has 4 children of his own. Pro holds an assistant guide’s license and a certificate in professional guiding. He is our local field assistant and his duties include translating between English and the many local languages, overseeing kraal building efforts and investigating livestock depredation events, along with countless other tasks. Pro’s favorite animal is the leopard because it is powerful but shy