Meet the team

Bring The Elephant Home is an active and innovative elephant research and conservation organisation that works with local community members, researchers and volunteers. Our various projects in Thailand and South Africa can always use support! Join us as a volunteer! More info:

Meet our team


Dr. Antoinette van de Water (she/her) – Founder and director

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.

Khwankhao “Kimmim” Sinhaseni – Country director Thailand

Thailand Field staff

Chidapha “Bee” Oiumao – Activity Coordinator

Phakakrong “Tia” Yodying- Tom Yum Project Team

Ave Owen (they/them) – Program Manager Thailand

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. 

Chanchira “Toui” Phukhang – Tom Yum Project Team

Roengrom “Rom” Amsamarng- Tom Yum Project Team

Natsuda “Mo” Sutiboriban: Research Coordinator

Tyler Nuckols (he/them) – PhD Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder


Chariya “Yok” Hongriw – Events officer


Akaraphum “Phum” Pisanwanich – Social Impact Manager

Chidapha “Bee” Oiumao – Activity Coordinator

Samon “Som” Sangthong – Tom Yum Project 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.

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.”

Brooke Friswold (she/her) – 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 

International team

Jeroen Bol, member of the board

Nature has always been my biggest passion. The elephant is an amazing animal and a keystone species in their ecosystems. We need to protect elephants and find solutions for reducing human-elephant conflict.

Saskia Cornelissen, treasurer

Suzan Doornwaard, member of the board

Together we can help wild elephants in Africa and Asia. I hope many more people will join!

Berrie Jurg, chair

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.

Leo and Toni van de Water

As Antoinette’s parents, we have been involved with BTEH since the start. Like Antoinette, we have fallen in love with elephants. Such beautiful, majestic and intelligent animals, that are so important for our natural world. We are happy to volunteer for BTEH when ever we can!

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.

Marieke Boogaard

I have always had a big passion for animals, which led me to study animal management. The work of Bring The Elephant Home inspired me and made me want to get involved as a volunteer. I love being able to contribute to human-elephant coexistence as a volunteer for BTEH!

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.

Mara van Maarschalkerweerd

Mikayla Vanhoutan

Animals and nature have always been a large part of my life, so volunteering in South Africa with Bring The Elephant Home only deepened my desire to continue studying wildlife biology and focus my career on elephant conservation. I love being able to stay involved with human-elephant coexistence efforts as a volunteer here at 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!

Eva Negerman

“I have a big passion and love for all that is Africa and its wonderful wildlife and nature. The work that BTEH does contributes on so many levels and I am proud and happy to help in any way I can.”

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.

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)

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