K A T E V A N N E L L I
C O N S E R V A T I O N I S T
I am a conservation scientist and Nat Geo Explorer whose career began in Namibia, working to conserve cheetahs with the Cheetah Conservation Fund. I have a B.Sc. in environmental science as well as an M.Sc. in conservation and rural development from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. During my degree work, I conducted and published research on the community aspects of snow leopard conservation and ecotourism in the Himalayas through the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, and gained experience with the many human dimensions of conserving large carnivores. I have also worked on the Namibian national leopard census, using camera traps and questionnaires to gain insight on the pressures facing the African leopard population.
Currently, I work as the Program Director for Global Conservation Corps, focusing on our conservation education program, 'Future Rangers', which operates outside of Kruger National Park in South Africa. Our goal is to provide strategic and scalable conservation education and opportunities to youth living in areas of high conservation priority.
I love wild cats and in my spare time, I love to paint, photograph and draw them. Cheetahs are my all-time favorite animal.
It all starts and ends with cheetahs for me. I've loved them since I was five, and have always wanted to work to protect them. When I got my dream job working with them in Namibia, this started me on a bigger journey.
Working with cheetahs helped me realize that wildlife and humans are struggling to share space and resources, and conservation is really all about human behavior and education.
Now I work as the Program Director for a conservation education program in South Africa, with the Global Conservation Corps. My main goal is to make sure that humans and wildlife can live alongside each other and mutually benefit, because a world without wildlife, like cheetahs, is not one I ever want to live in.