Leif is the founder of the International Elephant Project (IEP). He has worked for 30 years managing a wide range of animals, including Asian elephants.
A small population biologist and curator by trade; Leif has several academic qualifications, including a Masters of Science. He lectures at universities, is a seasoned public speaker and has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals. Leif is also the author of the books Orangutans and their Battle for Survival (2002) and, Amazon best seller, Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends (2016) and Finding our Humanity (2019).
Amongst many other positions, Leif is currently: a Technical Advisor for PT Alama Bukit Tigapuluh (a company leasing and protecting rainforest), leads The Orangutan Project and International Tiger Project, Vice President of Orang Utan Republik Foundation, and on the Advisory Board for Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh.
Visit leifcocks.org or more information on Leif Cocks
Click here if you want to go on an eco-tour with Leif.
Clare is the Director and Chairperson of the Asian Rhino Project, President of the Silvery Gibbon Project and sits on the Conservation Fund Committee of The Orangutan Project and is a member of the IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group and Primate Specialists Group, Section on Small Apes. Clare has a particular passion for gibbons and has extensive experience in zoos, in particular the management of captive primates. She has worked with Exotic species for over 14 years. Clare has extensive experience in species management and has developed conservation strategies and assisted with rehabilitation and reintroduction programs for the Javan gibbon. She is committed to developing and assisting with more collaborative and holistic in situ conservation projects in Indonesia and South East Asia. Clare holds B.Sc. in Zoology/Marine Biology and Post Graduate Certificate in Captive Vertebrate Management and was awarded James Cook University Alumni of the Year for Science in 2013 for her contribution to wildlife conservation.
Kylie is the Conservation Project Manager for International Elephant Project, International Tiger Project, and The Orangutan Project. Kylie has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology (with Distinction) and First-Class Honours in Primate Behaviour and numerous other qualifications.
Kylie was the Senior Orangutan Keeper at Perth Zoo for over 14 years where she oversaw the diet, enrichment, health, behavioural, and breeding management of these Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutans. She has extensive knowledge and experience in the care and management of orangutans and other Exotic species including animal husbandry, captive and wild behaviour, ecology, and diet. Kylie was the keeper in charge of the world’s first two zoo born orangutans to be released into a protected area of Sumatran rainforest. Her book, ‘Reaching for the Canopy’ details her life with the Zoo orangutans and the months she spent in the jungle with the released orangutans as they adapted to jungle life.
As Conservation Project Manager, Kylie liaises closely with our partners and colleagues in the field and helps to develop conservation strategies for different areas, with a key focus on elephants, tigers, and orangutans. She is passionate and committed to our holistic approach to conservation and keeping supporters, donors and sponsors up to date with the work in the field.
Rebecca Wright : Board Member Rebecca has extensive experience in international, especially in Asian investment and corporate knowledge, particularly as it relates to non-profit organisations/charities, fundraising from private sector and government donors.
Rebecca also brings high level connections with international/multilateral organisations, such as the UN, UNEP FI, World Bank, and grass roots investors across Asia. In addition, Rebecca has a high level of understanding of international climate change negotiations.
The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) was established in 2007 by Dr. Gary Shapiro who began his involvement with orangutans 43 years ago in the field of primate cognition and learning. He was the first person (1973-1975) to teach a symbolic communication system to an orangutan and the first person to have taught sign language to orangutans in the species’ natural environment (1978-1980; 1981 Indonesian Borneo) . During his time in Borneo, Shapiro assisted in the rehabilitation efforts of dozens of ex-captive orangutans and monitored the phenology of local rain forest ecosystem.
Shapiro received his doctorate in Zoology in 1985 from the University of Oklahoma then returned to Indonesian Borneo (1986) to conduct freshwater ecology studies. Shapiro’s interest in the freshwater ecology of Borneo was an extension of the research projects he conducted while being employed by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (1982-1985). He was also employed for nearly 27 years with the state of California as an emergency planner and an emergency responder (1988-2014).
Shapiro was the co-founder and vice president of the Orangutan Foundation International from 1986-2004. He has authored or co-authored numerous papers on orangutan linguistics, cognition, conservation and ethics. In late 2004, Dr. Shapiro and his Indonesian wife, Inggriani, were inspired to create the Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative (OUREI) and in response to the education needs underscoring the crisis facing orangutans today, particularly in Sumatra.
Hardi Baktiantoro was born in East Java, and he was fortunate to live with wildlife whilst growing up in a small farming village. Hardi learnt about the amazing behaviour of animals, however he also saw the misery of poaching and the animal trade because of the local culture to keep wild animals in captivity. This inspired Hardi to take action and he studied a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Journalism. In 2007 he formed an organisation called Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) to specifically tackle the cause of deforestation and the deaths of thousands of orangutans.
COP grew significantly over the years with Hardi’s leadership and financial support from The Orangutan Project. Hardi was highly successful in training and mentoring a passionate group of people who now run various projects for COP and our alliance called the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA). These include the BORA orangutan rescue centre, investigations into illegal forest crimes, conservation education, and wildlife rescues.
Hardi became the Field Manager for The Orangutan Project in 2021. His wealth of knowledge and experience on the ground allows Hardi to communicate effectively with government and forestry officials to create meaningful change for orangutan conservation. His amazing photography skills also bring to life the work that we support on the ground in Borneo and Sumatra.
Alex joined our team in 2012 as a voluntary advisor and is now the International Elephant Project (IEP) Field Manager. He is a trained field biologist who has studied at several universities in Germany, Panama, and Indonesia.
Since his youth, the German born nature enthusiast has been very interested in wildlife biology and conservation, and soon developed a particular fondness for large mammals. In 2008 Alex got the chance to study elephants in Sumatra, and a little later made the island his main base. In the following decade he led various field research and conservation projects, with much of his professional career focusing on ranger patrol management, wildlife monitoring, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.
Alex is the author of several scientific publications and a field guide to Sumatran mammals.