Staff

Mark Gately
Country Director, Congo (Republic of)
Mark has 15 years of experience in conservation management in Central Africa and South-East Asia. Having first arrived in Congo in 1999 to work for the Nouabale-Ndoki Project, he became NNNP Director in 2002. His tenure saw a significant expansion in ecotourism infrastructure and visitor numbers, the successful implementation of wildlife law enforcement activities, and the emergence of a number of young Congolese researchers. In 2007, Mark moved to Phnom Penh to become the Country Director for WCS's Cambodia Program, where he oversaw the development of a number of innovative financing mechanisms such as REDD+ and the expansion of community-based ecotourism. After two years as Director of WCS's Gabon Country Program, including the development of proposals to expand the country's network of marine protected areas, Mark has now returned to Congo to head the WCS Country Program.
Ben Evans
Principal Technical Advisor, Lac-Tele Community Reserve
Ben Evans serves as Principal Technical Advisor, Lac-Tele Community Reserve.
Eric Arnhem
Nouabale-Ndoki National Park Director
Eric arrived in WCS Gabon's team in 2014 where he currently manages activities across the Terrestrial Landscsape Conservation Program. With a background in biology, Eric was awarded a Ph.D. thesis on the impact of logging on large mammals in Central Africa. Eager to put theory into practice, since 2007 he worked on wildlife management issues in logging concessions. Within the program, he applies the saying « we protect only what we love and we love only what we know » by working on the three strategic themes of WCS Gabon that are: 1 Scientific Research, 2 Law Enforcement Monitoring and 3 Environmental Education and Capacity Building.
Jean Robert Onononga
Project Director
For more than a decade, Jean Robert has dedicated his career to the conservation of Central African forest wildlife. After achieving his undergraduate degree from the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, he obtained his first conservation post in 1996 with IUCN in Conkouati Faunal Reserve where he was in charge of directing field teams to conduct wildlife inventories. In 1998, his responsibilities expanded to include environmental education. He then joined the Goualougo Triangle Apes Project (GTAP) in 2001, where he contributed to the long-term monitoring of apes until 2008. In 2009, he completed his MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, UK. He then served as a Project Manager of GTAP in the Rep of Congo from 2009 to 2011. In early 2012, Jean Robert was appointed The Principal Technical Adviser for the PROGEPP - PNNN.
Jerome Mokoko-Ikonga
Deputy Country Director, Congo (Republic of)
Jerome’s earned his degree in livestock from the late Soviet Union. He then got a technical certificate in animal food in Egypt and another technical certificate in Zoological Park Management in France. His career in the world of conservation started in the mid-seventies with six years posting in several rural areas in the Republic of Congo. From the early 1980’s through the late 1990’s Jerome held high positions within the Congo’s Forestry Ministry and within the United Nations missions. At some point, he served as a wildlife adviser to the President of the Republic. He’s dedicated his whole career to protecting wildlife and has contributed a great deal to counting of water birds in the Lac Tele Community Reserve. Jerome is now WCS-Congo Program deputy country director.
Ledia Bidounga
GIS Expert
Ledia studied a bachelor’s degree in geography at the University of Brazzaville. She worked as a intern in the Center of Forest and Wildlife Inventory in the area of GIS, ArcGIS interpretation of satelite images, and monitoring of forest cover. For over three years, Ledia worked for a forestry company as a GIS expert and participated in the company’s management planning process, the commerce of woods, as well as monitoring logging operations and organizing cartography and GIS teams. In 2014, she joined WCS staff as a GIS expert and works in collaboration with WRI on forest surveillance and database management of the Congo’s forest atlas. Part of her job is to build the WCS database on wildlife, and to use GIS and remote sensing to help inform management decisions in our core sites.
Nirina Rakotomahefa
Director of Finance and Administration
Prior to joining WCS, Nirina has accumulated more than 20 years experience in the field of operations, finance and accounting and Human Resources management. Nirina holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de l’Université de Lausanne (Switzerland), and a Certificate for the Conservation Leadership Programme provided by WWF-College in Netherlands. He was the Head of Finance for WWF- Madagascar West Indian Ocean Regional Programme Office (MWIOPO) during 15 years and his post title was Regional Financial Controller since 2007. In 2000 during three months, he was acting as Regional Finance Director of WWF West Africa Regional Programme Office (WARPO) in Abidjan. From March to May 2010, he was interim Regional Finance Director of WWF Central Africa Regional Programme Office (CARPO) in Yaoundé. Nirina is married and has two children.
Patrick Boundja
Patrick first joined Conservation world in 1999 as a research assistant for the WCS Ndoki Elephant Project upon his graduation with an Engineer Diploma in Forestry from the University of Brazzaville. Studying forest elephant and great apes in Northern Congo helped Patrick develop his understanding of the Congo’s rich-biodiversity, wildlife-habitats relationships, and his skills as well as built his interest in pursuing a conservation career. He graduated with a Masters in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 2007. As WCS Congo GIS, Ecological and Law Enforcement Monitoring and data management Technical Assistant Between 2007 and 2008, Patrick worked with experts from the US Forest Service and representatives from the CNIAF (Centre National des Inventaires et Aménagements Forestiers du Congo) to develop a country-wide Geodatabase and Access data base for line transect surveys. Since August 2012, Patrick has started his PhD in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. Patrick’s PhD research is focused on elephant conservation and sustainable fisheries in Northern Congo and the Sangha Tri-National landscape
Richard Malonga
Project Director
Richard Malonga completed his MSc in Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota (USA). His Masters was based on the Ecological factors that influence the spatial distribution of the Forest Buffalo in the republic of Congo. He also has a BSc. in Tropical Forest Management from the University of Brazzaville (Congo). His career in conservation began in 1995 in Congo working for WCS as a volunteer as a researcher assistant. He helped WCS-Congo program set up Bushmeat data baseline in Congo and Assist with the Ecology of the Bongo Antelope study in the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park. He was member of the WCS team that initiated the Partnership between WCS, Private sector(Logging Company) and the Government of Congo to establish the wildlife conservation program in the Periphery of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park (Congo). He was committed to duplicate this model to the Logging concession surrounding The Odzala National Park in the republic of Congo. He was also Director of the Plateau Bateke Landscape Project. Today, Richard is the new WCS Director in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park.
Tomoaki Nishihara
Senior Technical Advisor for Protection and Operations in Northern Congo
Tomoaki Nishihara completed his PhD on primate ecology in the Congo at the Laboratory of Human Evolution Studies at Kyoto University, Japan before beginning a long-term field conservation career in Central Africa. He has been in the field 20 years, including 10 years with WCS Congo and Gabon plus working on the famous Megatransect. He has strong skills in logistics and team organization and speaks several languages. He has worked as a project manager / technical advisor, for the management of National Parks. His current interests are to not only protect the Central African forest ecosystem but to also create links between conservation activities in the field and conservation in Japan. He also wants to improve public awareness in Japan of forest elephant conservation and prevent the trafficking of ivory to Japan and Asia. His most important publication is "Elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in African tropical forests with special reference to the Republic of Congo", Pachyderm, 34:66-74 (2003).
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