Project & Senior Staff

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Richard Malonga
Congo Country Director
Richard started working for WCS Congo in 1995 as a volunteer research assistant. He helped with the study of the ecology of Bongo antelope in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. He was part of the team which initiated the Partnership between WCS, a forestry company (CIB) and the Government of Congo to extend conservation actions to the periphery of the Park. Richard completed his MSc in Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota and a BSc in Tropical Forest Management at the Marien Ngouabi University. Richard was appointed Director of the Plateau Bateke Landscape Project, then Director of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. Since 2019, Richard is the WCS Congo Country Director.
Olly Griffin
Forest Carbon Technical Advisor
Olly has an MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London, and has experience working in conservation projects in Madagascar, central Africa, and south-east Asia. In his current role he manages WCS Cambodia's REDD+ portfolio: supporting landscape teams in the design of project interventions to ensure alignment with the project’s theory of change; engaging in the national REDD+ policy process; developing the necessary project documentation to ensure project registration and/or verification of credits from both the Northern Plains and KSWS REDD projects according to the requirements of the VCS and CCB Standards; monitoring and reporting on project progress; and liaising with outside marketing partners for the sale of project credits.
Alexis Obiang
Technical Assistant : LEM
Emma J Stokes
Vice President, Field Conservation
Emma has over 15 years experience of conservation science and management in tropical forests, with a focus on large mammal ecology and population status. She has conducted fieldwork on apes in Indonesia, Uganda and Republic of Congo, and coordinated landscape-scale implementation of conservation assessment and wildlife monitoring programs for apes and elephants in Northern Congo and for tigers across South-East Asia. She played an instrumental role in the first regional conservation action plan for chimpanzees and gorillas in West Equatorial Africa in 2005 and documented new ape populations in Northern Congo in 2006 that revised the global estimate for western lowland gorillas. Her skills include scientific design and application of management-focused biodiversity monitoring programs and strategic evaluation of conservation outcomes, with a focus on law enforcement effectiveness. She holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and a PhD in cognitive ecology from the University of St Andrews. She has worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society since 1999. Emma is currently based in Gabon as a regional advisor on conservation effectiveness for WCS programs in Africa, and on law enforcement monitoring for WCS globally.
Emmanuel Chartrain
Technical Assistant : Commerical Fishing
Floriane Cardiec
Technical Assistant : Community Fishing
In 2007 Floriane completed a Masters degree in France in Aquatic and Marine Environment Management. Since then, she has worked in Gabon, first as a marine turtle conservationist for the Partenariat pour les Tortues Marines du Gabon (PTMG), dealing with threats on turtles, such as artificial light impacts on nesting and the issue of beached logs (2008-2011). In 2012, she joined the marine team at WCS, working on several aspects including whales monitoring, Marine Protected Areas and fisheries management. She is currently involved in the governmental initiative Gabon Bleu, with an emphasis on fisheries.
Gaspard Abitsi
Country Program Director

Born in Mounana (south-east Gabon, Central Africa) in 1976, Gaspard studied biology at the Université de Sciences et Techniques de Masuku (Gabon) and Université Claude Bernard de Lyon (France). He also attended the International Seminar on Protected Area Management with University of Montana and US Forest Service in 2009.

Gaspard is particularly interested in understanding how various land use strategies, such as logging, mining, palm plantation and protected area management, differentially impact wildlife, habitats and livelihoods of forest-dependent people. He also strengths in building consensus between local communities and conservationists on sustainable management of natural resources and; human and elephant conflict mitigation strategies.

Gaspard ABITSI has worked for WCS in Gabon for ten years and he is now the Country Director for WCS programme in Gabon.

Godefroy de Bruyne
Technical Assistant : Community Fishing
Godefroy first came to Gabon in 2012, as a two-year international solidarity volunteer (VSI) with WCS Gabon. He was based at the Mayumba project in southern Gabon in the Nyanga Province, and worked on sustainable management approaches for traditional fishing, in collaboration with the local national and international fishermen, as well as the local authorities. Prior to this, he conducted several studies for aquatic systems management in France, both for the private and public sector. Following five years of academic studies he gained a Masters in Water and Aquatic Systems Management from the University of Marseilles in 2010. Since 2013, he officially joined the WCS team, as technical assistant on traditional fishing, and is still based in Mayumba. As part of this, he has more recently been focusing on shark and ray conservation.
Hélène Blanchard
Technical Assistant : GIS
After completing a Masters program in "Managing habitats and watersheds" at the Faculty of Rennes in 2011, Helen first came to Gabon with WCS as a French volunteer in 2011. She provided technical support to the Gabon program on Geographic Information System (GIS) issues. Following her voluntary position Helen continued to work for WCS, and since June 2013 she is Technical Assistant on the aerial surveillance program where she prepares monitoring protocols, organizes flights, and compiles reports for the project partners. Helen is also part of the SMART team where she provides technical support on the management of the law enforcement monitoring database.
Mike Fay
Principal Technical Adviser
A WCS senior conservationist, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, and special adviser to the President of Gabon, Mike Fay has dedicated much of his life to studying and protecting African wildlife. In May 2013, following a brutal elephant slaughter in the Central African Republic (CAR), he helped facilitate discussions between the leaders of Gabon and CAR to stop the poaching.

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