Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Our Leaders

Doug Cheeseman

Doug leverages his expertise gained during 35 years of teaching ecology and zoology at De Anza College to offer travelers a unique learning experience in wildlife-rich regions of the world. Doug and Gail have led over 70 safaris to Africa, especially to Tanzania and Kenya, since 1978. They also led many tours to all corners of the globe including the Antarctic, South America, Australia, and Asia. A love of photographing wildlife behavior and giving college-level lectures to interested groups adds to his accomplishments.

Gail Cheeseman

Gail is a naturalist of the best kind–self-taught through a lifetime in the field fueled by a deep passion for wildlife. Her attention to tour details and individual desires ensures that each Cheesemans’ traveler has the experience of their dreams. Gail has a true spirit for conservation that drives her actions on many issues, both local and worldwide. Together, Gail and Doug make a team of remarkable ecologists who seek to inspire others to enjoy and conserve the Earth’s wild landscapes.

Geoffrey Lungu

Geoffrey loves to observe and interpret Zambia's animal behavior and interactions and leads with great enthusiasm. To put it in his own words, "there is never a chance to get bored in the bush." Always keen to encourage interest in all his guests, his ambition is to write a book about the mammals of the South Luangwa. Geoffrey enjoys pointing out reptiles and birds and is always keen to listen to your questions and photo requests.

Hishey Tshering

Hishey spent his lifetime promoting and preserving nature in Bhutan through many guiding and conservation efforts. He worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature and the International Crane Foundation on bird issues. His belief in "Gross National Happiness" and extensive knowledge of culture, birds, and wildlife make him one of the most sought-after guides in Bhutan for over 15 years. Hishey will be helped by an assistant guide.

Hugh Rose

Expedition and Trip Leader, Naturalist, Geologist, and Photographer, Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos. Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.

Jan Kelchtermans

Leading trips throughout Europe is Jan’s pure passion. He started birding at a young age in Belgium and then expanded this passion into watching and sharing his vast knowledge about all European mammals. Jan was one of the first Belgians to see Europe's Big Five: lynx, wolverine, wolf, brown bear, European bison (wisent) and brown bear. He has led trips throughout all of Europe, especially Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Spain, and more. Speaking wonderful English, he is always happy to answer your questions and help you take home wonderful photos.

Juan Manuel Salcedo

Juan grew up in the Galápagos Islands where he developed his passion for wildlife while sailing on his father's boat. He received a degree from the University of San Francisco, Quito after studying Applied Ecology, Biology and Geology. Juan also earned a skipper certificate after studying sailing and navigation in Los Angeles. Involvement in Environmental Education projects in the Galápagos Islands and on mainland Ecuador fills his spare time.

Nan Eagleson

Nan is a wildlife biologist who has worked as a professional guide in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska for over 20 years. She currently works as the head naturalist and instructor for the Denali Education Center in Denali National Park when she is not off birding, hiking, canoeing, dog sledding, guiding photographers, or conducting botanical surveys in the wilderness of Alaska. She worked with many photographers throughout her long career, so understands and delivers the elements that make a great photo: proper light, unique composition, and the best positioning to capture wildlife behaviors and beautiful landscapes.

Nkosi Sibanda

Nkosi has led safaris for many years in Zimbabwe and Botswana. His love of the bush and its amazing wildlife inspired him to earn both Zimbabwe and Botswana Professional Guides licenses. He also has an advanced degree in Tourism and Travel Agency Management and is an all-round knowledgeable guide with a great personality. Nkosi loves photography and is very helpful with photo assistance.

Paco Madrigal

Paco has over 20 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout his native Costa Rica. He studied English and Ornithology at the University of Florida then worked at La Selva Biological Station before following his dream of starting his own tour company. His deep knowledge and charming personality make him one of our best leaders.

Rodrigo Tapia

Rodrigo developed his lifelong passion for birds at the early age of ten, which led to his studies of Biology at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He spent years researching birds for different organizations throughout Chile and Antarctica and also worked as a birding guide, guide instructor, independent researcher, and birding consultant. He is also interested in increasing public awareness of birds through children’s education, lectures, and birding festivals. Since 2006 he has led birding, wildlife and wildlife photo tours. Rodrigo has done it all!

Scott Davis

Scott Davis is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, travel, and editorial imagery. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, Scott's research and photo assignments have taken him to far corners of the globe and all seven continents. His photographic work has appeared in numerous national and international magazines and newspapers, commercial websites, prestigious stock agencies, and corporate reports. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.

Ted Cheeseman

Ted grew up traveling extensively and began studying and photographing wildlife as a child. After completing a Master's degree in Tropical Conservation Biology at Duke University, Ted returned to California to lead and organize expeditions full time with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris. Ted currently leads expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and recently founded the citizen science project Happywhale.

Tom Murphy

Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in snowy environments such as Yellowstone National Park and Antarctica. His passion and talent is photographing wildlife in their environment to tell a story. Much of his work centers on Yellowstone as highlighted in a popular PBS Nature series program, Christmas in Yellowstone, and several of his own books.

Tonia Cochran

Tonia Cochran is a wonderful guide, naturalist, and conservationist with a wide range of experience in Australian fauna and flora. Armed with a PhD in Zoology, she has a diverse professional career in science, conservation, and tourism. Her specialty is knowing the best places in Australia to find wildlife, something that is hard to do on your own. Tonia is a superb leader as proven by the many accolades she receives and will help you really understand what makes Australia tick.

Zapa Zaparoli

Cassiano "Zapa" Zaparoli has been leading wildlife tours throughout Brazil and especially the Pantanal for many years since finishing university. He has a deep love of the wildlife of his home country, Brazil, and calls the Pantanal “the best wildlife destination in South America.” A photographer with an eye for composition, he enjoys traveling throughout South America photographing wildlife. Finding the rare mammals of the Pantanal takes great patience, knowledge, and experience - Zapa has these qualities.

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