Scientific Advisors

Dr. Carlos Driscoll


Dr. Driscoll, D.Phil. holds the WWF Chair in Conservation Genetics at the Wildlife Institute of India and is also an IRTA Fellow in the Section of Comparative Behavioral Genomics in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the NIH.


Carlos is interested in organismal evolution, biogeography and phylogenetics and applying these concepts to conservation problems. His current research interests focus on the molecular etiology of behaviors associated with domestication, and the influence these genes/behaviours have on adaptation of individuals, populations or species to their environments.


Carlos graduated from U.M.B.C. with a B.S. in Biology before pursuing an M.S. in Biomedical Science from Hood College through the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, NCI in Frederick, MD. His D. Phil in Zoology is from the University of Oxford. 

Vance Martin


Vance Martin has been President of The WILD Foundation since 1983, in charge of the program and financial development for this Boulder-based conservation organization that was originally established in 1974 in Africa by renowned conservationist Ian Player.  


Prior to establishing the WILD office in the United States, Vance lived and worked abroad (Asia and Europe) for 13 years. He works primarily on project-related or fundraising travel for WILD, connecting between the headquarters in Colorado with WILD projects and affiliated organizations throughout North America and overseas. He has worked in over 60 countries, and has extensive experience of international collaboration in natural resource policy and communications, plus extensive field experience developing applied conservation solutions for wildlife, wilderness, and local communities.


He has helped establish and  been on the board of many conservation NGOs in numerous countries; has been International Director of the World Wilderness Congress since 1984; is Chairman of the IUCN Wilderness Specialist Group (IUCN/WCPA); and is author/editor of many articles, books and other publications.


WILD is a small but targeted and efficient conservation organization dedicated to protecting wilderness and wildlife, and also connecting people and their communities to nature – so that they understand how wild nature supports human health and prosperity.

Dr. Steve O’Brien


Dr. O’Brien is an American geneticist and nicknamed the “Godfather of Conservation Genetics”.


He was chief in the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, USA.  He is known for his contributions on the evolution of mammalian viruses and the adaptation to this exposure by the host, but also works on mammalian systematics.


Some of his work has been on the discovery and explanation of low genetic variability in the cheetah species.  A large contributor to the hypothesis that the cheetah was reduced in population size due to a large bottlenecking event.



Dr. Jim Sanderson


Dr. Sanderson received a Ph.D from the University of New Mexico in 1976. He is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, Fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Network, and founder of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation.


He has studied small cats using radio-telemetry technology to understand habitat fragmentation landscape connectivity, and conservation issues. 


He did the first study of the Guigna, a small cat in Chile, and with his colleagues was the first to capture and radio-collar an Andean cat. He has also used camera phototraps to survey wildlife populations and monitor biodiversity in South America, Africa, China, and SE Asia.  Jim's photograph of the Andean cat appeared in the February 2000 issue of National Geographic.


He has written four books and published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles. To learn more about Jim’s work please visit:



Dr. David Smith


Dr. Smith is a professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.  He worked for over 35 years in tiger conservation and studied the behaviour, ecology and conservation of tigers in south and southeast Asia, specifically tiger social organization and dispersal patterns.  His interests in dispersal led to long-term monitoring of individual animals and an interest in metapopulation structure of large mammals.


His other research included  Asian mammals such as small carnivore communities, tropical bear ecology, and the ecological separation of gaur and banteng. Recent research has focused on the use of remote sensing, conservation data bases and modeling as conservation tools. He has been using these methodologies to explore approaches to conservation that are based on influencing human land use patterns outside traditional park and reserve systems in Asia.



Dr. Carl Traeholt


Dr. Traeholt recieved MSc in eco-physiology and behavioural ecology and in 1993 his PhD in behavioural ecology and population ecology at Copenhagen University, He worked on various projects Malaysia and Indonesia.


Since officially residing in Kuala Lumpur from 1990, he has worked extensively for bi-lateral and multi-lateral development donors (Danida, GEF, EU, World Bank, UNDP), primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Peru, South Africa and Zambia with wildlife research, biodiversity conservation and organizational capacity building, primarily in Government Ministries and/or departments, Universities and the corporate sector.


He edited several scientific journals and has written numerous scientific publications about population ecology, biodiversity conservation and institutional capacity building. In 2001-2002 he acted as Fauna & Flora International’s “primate programme coordinator” in Cambodia where he also held the position as “country director”.


He is a co-founder and board member of Society for Conservation Biology’s “Asia Chapter”. Since 2004 he has been senior research officer and SE Asia Programme Director at Copenhagen Zoo’s research and conservation division. He mentors many BSc, MSc and PhD students in Asia and Europe.

Previous Scientific Advisors

The late Dr. Peter Crawshaw (RIP 2021)


Dr. Crawshaw was a conservation biologist who retired after working for 35 years with the Brazilian government.


In 1994, he created the National Research Center for the Conservation of Mammalian Camivores (CENAP/ICMBIO) and served as director of the center for 7 years.  Most of his career was spent working on jaguar conservation, having participated of the first study on the species, together with Dr. George Schaller, in the 70’s.


During his many projects, Peter trained a long stream of students in Biology and other related fields, many of whom have spread the wings of conservation far and wide. Among his recent work, he explored new methods to help both jaguars and ranchers to reduce the conflict created by livestock depredation. The results of this study were published as a chapter in a recent book “Fencing for Conservation”.


Peter was a huge supporter of Li Quan and her conservation efforts with the South China Tiger, and for that he will always be fondly remembered here.


See also:

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