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Meet the team

Bring the Elephant Home is an active and innovative elephant research and conservation organisation that mainly works with volunteers. There is a lot of work to do for our various projects around the world, and we need help to realize our plans! More info: [email protected]

Meet our team

Antoinette van de Water – Founder

The only way to make a difference is through hope. Optimism is essential if we are to find a way to halt the mass species extinction already on its way. We must cherish compassion and inclusiveness to safeguard this planet on which we all depend. 

David Owen – Country Director

I can’t imagine a world without elephants. Through working with empowered community partners to implement sustainable solutions to human-elephant conflict, Bring The Elephant Home, and its ever-growing team, represent a brighter future for the world’s elephants. 

Berrie Jurg – Chair

Bring The Elephant Home is like a magnet for positive and involved people. Together we can help wild elephants in Africa and Asia. I hope many more people will join!

Liesbeth Sluiter, member of the board

‘What is your favourite animal?’ asks my niece. ‘Elephant of course!’ I say, although I love the rest of nature just as much. Nature motivates my work as a journalist and photographer, and I feel fortunate to be part of Bring The Elephant Home’s venture to make the world a better place.

Emily Dean

I devoted all my volunteer efforts and time to BTEH in 2015 because I felt in the presence of family. Everyone in the BTEH team is optimistic, considerate and driven. For me, my passion started out as welfare for elephants, but now that I have a young son, my passion is more conservation-based since I want to contribute to a better world for him to grow up in.

Maarten Rediers

After my trip to South Africa in 2017, where I saw the consequences of poaching, I decided to commit myself as a volunteer for BTEH. I am proud that I can contribute to the continued existence of the elephant.

Vera Praet

I have always had a passion for wildlife and nature in general, which inspired me to study biology and get involved in nature conservation. A seminar by Antoinette of Bring the Elephant Home inspired me so much I decided to write my thesis about human-elephant-conflicts, go to South Africa for a couple of months, and stay involved as a volunteer.

Kim van Dijk

As a volunteer for Bring the Elephant Home I can help one of the most majestic animals to walk the earth, the wonderful elephant. I hope my work here inspires more people to be careful with the natural environment.

Bo Blommendaal

Wildlife and nature have always greatly sparked my interest and when I got the opportunity of an internship at BTEH I did not hesitate for a second. As a communication intern I feel like I can help BTEH in their mission and contribute to the protection of wild elephants, which I really enjoy!

Alisa Hengtai, Conservation Program Coordinator

“Once I spent time in lush forests and became fascinated with wildlife, I started to wonder how great it would be if we could preserve these for future generations. To experience this beauty, realize the importance of nature, and learn how connected we all are.”

Jazz Kok

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about nature. For humanity’s own sake and so many other reasons, I believe we need to conserve nature and all of its beautiful creatures such as the elephant. In my work I focus on the recovery of tropical forests, and by supporting BTEH I am very happy to be able to make a contribution to elephant welfare in my free time.

Emily Belonje

I begun my journey with BTEH since I was a international student in Thailand and now, I hope to continue supporting them in The Netherlands. My passion for animal conservation and sustainable livelihoods has driven me to further learn and research about it in my studies, and is reflected in the values and conservation efforts of BTEH.

Gordon Wasch

After volunteering for elephants in Thailand and rhinos in South Africa I was determined to do whatever I could to save them from going extinct.
Working for BTEH is just one of the things I do to help this majestic creature and I’m proud to be part of this amazing team!

Samon “Som” Sangthong – Activity Coordinator

I grew up in Ruam Thai village, where we see elephants every day. Even though they damage crops I still view them as friends and feel lucky to live nearby them and teach visitors about them.

Thanasit “Oh” Phibunwattanakon – Regional Field Supervisor

Elephants are a unique species – they’re intelligent, powerful and can solve problems. They brought job opportunities, tourism and income to my community, and we cooperate and work together all because of elephants.

Viviana Ceccarelli

I have always been passionate about nature conservation and I am particularly interested in finding ways to solve human-wildlife conflicts. As a volunteer within BTEH, I hope that my help (however small it may be) can contribute to the conservation of this majestic animal and to the promotion of a peaceful coexistence between humans and elephants in Asia and Africa.

Janneke Troost

Ever since I saw a wild elephant in Nepal, these majestic animals entered my heart. By becoming active in their conservation (although from a distance), I hope to contribute to making sure that this is not the only place they will be present in the future. “We’ve got to build a better future… And we need to start right now…” (Song for the Climate – Do it now)

Tis Voortman – Treasurer

Bring The Elephant Home turns human-elephant conflict into coexistence. I am very happy to be part of this inspiring organization and to contribute to protection and conservation of not only elephants but entire ecosystems. 

Chidapha “Bee” Oiumao – tree nursery manager


Brooke Friswold – Elephant Researcher – PhD research with the Bangkok-based University KMUTT and BTEH

I hope to increase the coexistence and connection between humans and elephants (and all wildlife) through understanding and facilitating conservation action. My PhD research seeks to inform and increase human and elephant relations, elephant welfare and populations through analyzing elephant behavioral responses following BTEH interventions, among other objectives. “The greatest threat to our future is apathy” Jane Goodall. 

Khamarat Chorchuvong, Product Development Specialist 
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