The Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme is a large partnership involving many people within institutions in the UK and the Caribbean.
Jeff Dawson (Field Conservation Programmes Coordinator)
Jeff has been at Durrell since July 2013 and manages Durrell’s Saving Amphibians From Extinction – SAFE Programme based in their Bath office, UK. As part of this role he also acts as coordinator of the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme. Prior to joining Durrell, Jeff spent a number of years undertaking biodiversity survey and conservation work in, amongst other places, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Montserrat.
Richard Young (Head of Conservation Learning)
Joining Durrell in 2005 as a conservation biologist, Richard now manages the Trust’s scientific research programmes in support of its conservation mission. With a background in applied ecology, Richard has a doctorate from the University of Southampton and is a visiting lecturer at the University of Bath.
Matt Göetz (Head of Herpetology Department)
As Head of Herpetology at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Jersey Zoo, Matt’s role involves managing the Herpetology department, from husbandry and conservation breeding to forming reintroduction and translocation initiatives for Durrell’s critically endangered species. He therefore provides husbandry advice and feedback to the field team to provide the most effective care for the semi-wild population of mountain chickens.
Andrew Routh (Head of Veterinary Sciences)
Having spent 13 years in general practice and a further 8 years as ZSL’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Andrew is now responsible for managing the health of Durrell’s entire collection. Alongside his clinical work, publishing research and running training courses, Andrew is also actively involved in the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme, providing treatment for diseased frogs and ensuring their ongoing health. He also provides veterinary care overseas for Durrell’s Madagascan pochard and the ploughshare tortoise.
Mike Hudson (Durrell Institute of Zoology Research Fellow and MCRP Project Lead)
Mike’s research primarily focuses on amphibian conservation, particularly infectious disease and the monitoring of wild animal populations. The focus of his PhD with the Zoological Society of London, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and University of Kent was the emergence and continued impact of chytridiomycosis in the mountain chicken and novel strategies for controlling disease in the wild. Mike now leads the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme and provides scientific support and expertise to a number of Durrell’s other programmes, involving conservation research on amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Luke Jones (Caribbean Programmes Manager)
Prior to working on the project, Luke gained his postgraduate diploma in Endangered Species Recovery through DICE and the University of Kent, working closely with both Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Mauritian Wildlife Trust. This inspired him to pursue a role in education, working as a Lecturer and Education Officer at the West-Midlands Safari Park, before becoming a research assistant on the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme back in 2018, and later becoming coordinator. Working as coordinator through to 2021, Luke is now the Caribbean Programmes manager, overseeing multiple projects in region.
Luke Brannon (MCRP Coordinator)
As a previous keeper at ZSL, Luke completed the DESMAN at Durrell’s conservation academy, which fueled him to pursue an infield career, working through West Africa and South East Asia. Having previously worked with the mountain chicken in Dominica during 2017, his current role as coordinator is to implement its strategy on island in Montserrat. This includes working in collaboration with the Department of Environment to capacity build for future generations, managing a semi-wild population of mountain chickens, a live food facility, wild mountain chicken population surveying, alongside public engagement, helping to bring people and nature together.
Kaysie Ryan (MCRP Project Officer)
Kaysie has been with the MCRP team since November 2020, hired through the Darwin grant. Kaysie has always had a natural love & interest in animal’s, growing up in Montserrat. Her role on the MCRP is Project Officer where she is currently going through training processes to further her knowledge to become a conservationist. She is included in every aspect of the project from insect husbandry to report writing, whilst also working closely with DoE on their environmental work.
Tavis Weekes (MCRP Senior Project Officer)
Tavis has been working with the Department of Environments Forestry division since 2016, including cross collaboration on the mountain chicken programme and others on island. He is currently on a 2-year secondment from DoE with the aim of upskilling and completing Durrell’s Endangered Species Management course (DESMAN).
Andrew Terry (Director of Conservation and Policy)
After working as Durrell’s Head of Conservation Programmes and UK Development for 11 years, Andrew now oversees the delivery of ZSL’s new global strategy across six core countries in Africa and Asia: Benin, Cameroon, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal and the Philippines.
Andrew Cunningham (Head of Wildlife Epidemiology and Deputy Head Institute of Zoology)
Andrew was part of the international team that co-discovered chytridiomycosis and since has co-ordinated international efforts to investigate the disease further. Andrew worked for many years as a veterinary pathologist for ZSL, however since 2001, he has led a team of researchers at the Institute of Zoology who work on wildlife diseases, with particular reference to biodiversity conservation, on a wide range of animal taxa: from snails to whales.
Ben Tapley (Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians)
Benjamin Tapley is a conservation biologist and Curator of Herpetology at the Zoological Society of London. Ben’s primary interests include the conservation breeding and captive management of amphibians. Ben is the chair of the BIAZA Reptile and Amphibian Working Group and Facilitator of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group, Captive Breeding WG. Ben has been working on the mountain chicken programme for 10 years both at Durrell, ZSL and on Dominica.
Christopher Michaels (Manager of Herpetology Team)
Chris completed a doctorate in amphibian ex-situ conservation at the University of Manchester in 2014 and has since worked in the Herpetology Section at ZSL London Zoo. He is mainly focused on amphibians, including mountain chickens, and leads or supports a number of conservation, captive husbandry and field science research projects.
Dr Taï Strike (Veterinary Officer)
Taï has worked as a veterinary officer at ZSL’s London and Whipsnade Zoos for many years, conducting clinical work on all species, alongside teaching postgraduate and undergraduate veterinary students at the zoo. Taï is also part of the team tasked with ZSL’s wildlife introductions.
Dr Gerardo Garcia (Curator of Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates and ESB Mountain Chicken Studbook Owner)
Gerardo is involved in captive breeding programmes of reptiles and amphibians in institutions around the world, in Jersey, Montserrat, Dominica, Madagascar, Spain, Mauritius and Bermuda. As the mountain chicken studbook owner, he plays an active role in the logistics of the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme. He also provides expertise in training initiatives for amphibian conservation, assisting institutions with husbandry protocols of captive colonies.
Dr Javier Lopez (Veterinary Manager)
As Veterinary Manager of Chester Zoo’s Animal Health Department, Javier leads the team of vets, providing health care to the animal collections and support for Chester Zoo’s conservation, training and research programmes. He is particularly interested in reptiles and amphibians and has provided veterinary support for the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme, alongside other conservation programmes such as the captive breeding and release of the Malagasy ploughshare tortoise and the previously thought extinct Madagascan pochard.
Kristofer Försäter (Head Amphibian Keeper)
Kristofer is the head amphibian keeper at Nordens Ark, Sweden. He is running the day to day maintenance and captive management of the ex-situ mountain chicken frogs at Nordens Ark. He has a wide experience in both keeping and breeding several rare amphibians in captivity for conservation purposes. Aside from the mountain chicken frogs, this also includes the European green toad and the lemur leaf frog.
Emma Nygren (Conservation Officer)
Emma is the conservation officer and project coordinator for in-situ conservation programs. Emma has a MSc in conservation biology and a long experience of working as an animal keeper. She is currently managing all of Nordens Arks international conservation commitments which ranges from mountain chicken frogs in the Caribbean to snow leopards and Pallas’s cats in Mongolia.
DoE (Department of Environment) – Montserrat
Lloyd ‘Lloydie’ Martin (Forest Technician)
‘Lloydie’ has been working with the forestry department for over 23 years and has been walking in the forest all his life. As forest technician within the DoE Lloydie is responsible for managing the forestry work programme and supervising the forestry staff. Lloydie has also worked on many projects on island with a variety of NGO’s and was largely involved with both other Darwin Initiative projects completed in Montserrat. Lloydie’s role in the programme is to aid in the collection and management of data, providing technical and logistical support on island and reporting and liaising with project partners and technical experts.
Calvin ‘Blacka’ Fenton
‘Blacka’ has been contracted by the project as primary field assistant due to his extensive knowledge and commitment to both the Centre Hills and the mountain chicken on Montserrat. Blacka has been working with Durrell in studying the mountain chicken since 2003 and continues to demonstrate his skill in spotting, catching and handling the frogs during the fieldwork elements of this project. In addition to working directly with the released mountain chickens, Blacka leads regular searches for this critically endangered species around many areas of the island and remains the most experienced tree frog catcher during the chytrid monitoring surveys. Whether it’s birds, medicinal plants, food of the forest or most importantly frogs, Blacka is our man.
Stephon Hixon (Forest Assistant)
A previous student undertaking work experience with DoE, Stephon has been working permanently with them now for over 2 years. Stephon had the opportunity to experience one of the first re-releases of mountain chicken back to Montserrat, radio tracking in the center hills and continues to help on the programme today. With a keen interest in birds, Stephon’s able to identify all birds on island by sound.