Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris carefully selects leaders who are tops in their field to ensure that your experience is the best it can be. We also provide a complete support staff on our larger expeditions and often use local guides to enhance your experience. Your trip itinerary lists your trip leaders.
Adam Ernster is a seasoned mariner, photographer, and naturalist whose zeal for conservation and education has led him on countless adventures up and down the West Coast of North America from the San Juan islands to the Baja California Peninsula. Adam earned a bachelor’s in environmental science from UCSB, and his wildlife footage appears in documentaries produced by PBS and National Geographic. Adam’s passion for storytelling and wildlife also extends into co-hosting the Whalenerd’s Podcast, a communication project about whales and other ocean-related topics.
Aditya is an award-winning naturalist, wildlife conservationist, and photographer from Odisha, India. For over 15 years he has focused on identifying and preserving larger tiger and elephant landscapes, empowering human-elephant conflict mitigation squads, and working with frontline forest personnel in tiger habitat. He will ready engage in conversations on a wide range of topics and is always eager to go the extra mile to make you comfortable. You’ll find that his infectious interpretation style will give you a deep understanding of and appreciation for India and its wildlife.
Agnès is a self-taught naturalist who studied environmental law and management; she is devoted to helping others discover nature and is a committed conservationist. She worked in partnership with the League for the Protection of Birds in France, initiating and leading a project developing access to nature for disabled people. She specializes in guiding in the polar regions and the Russian Far East, where she shares her passion for these fascinating habitats and their wildlife. Agnès is also a keen photographer and one of the authors of Journey to Antarctica.
Ali has lived on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia but now lives on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. She has worked on expedition ships since 2010, and is a self-confessed ‘polar addict’ with a deep love of Antarctica and the Arctic; their landscapes, wildlife, and history. She has published three books: Plants of the Falkland Islands and two art and craft books for kids using penguins and albatross as their inspiration. Ali finished three marathons, and she enjoys hiking, cycling, photography, and art. She loves sharing her knowledge of and passion for the polar regions.
Allison is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography studying polar phytoplankton and holds a master's degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. As lead developer of the citizen science project, FjordPhyto, she hopes travelers can help better our scientific understanding of Antarctic fjord ecosystems and their response to a changing climate. She has conducted research for more than a decade in the fields of neuroscience, biofuel, genetics, and ecology. Her work has taken her to exotic ecosystems in the Amazon jungle, the plains of Africa, and fjords of Antarctica.
Angus is a PhD student at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. Angus's project seeks to tap into the network of Antarctic tourist vessels to collect data on foraging baleen whales. He hopes this work will help better manage our fishing of their key food source – Antarctic krill. Studying top predators for more than a decade, his work that has taken him from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Specializing in the largest of Southern Ocean krill predators, Angus loves to share his passion and knowledge for baleen whales to anyone who will listen.
Ansar specializes in wildlife photography and guides many wildlife tours in northern and eastern India and in Bhutan. He is an expert on India’s birds and mammals. Ansar was born at Bharatpur and comes from a family of foresters who have worked in the Keoladeo National Park for two generations. Many of his photographs have appeared in magazines and books. He is also active with Life Line for Nature Society, a Bharatpur-based nonprofit working towards the welfare and conservation and wildlife and nature.
Augustine, founder and owner of our local safari operator, studied at Tanzania’s College of Wildlife Management and served with the Tanzania Wildlife Department, developing an invaluable set of connections and knowledge. He did his Master’s in Conservation Biology and Ecotourism with Walt Anderson at Prescott College in Arizona. Augustine’s warmth and humor, intimate knowledge of animal behavior, friendships with indigenous people, and command of logistical details have given him a well-deserved reputation in the safari field.
Bablu is Ansar’s brother and was also born at Bharatpur into the family of foresters who have managed Keoladeo National Park for two generations. He has traveled widely, including leading wildlife tours in India, and as such he is an expert on India’s mammals and birds. He is highly respected among naturalists in India and has a charming personality.
Benjamin is a marine mammal ecologist who specializes in oceanic cetaceans. He is the Director of the Coral Triangle Oceanic Cetacean Program for APEX Environmental and co-founder of Planet Deep (www.planetdeep.org) a non-profit focused on the conservation of oceanic and deep-sea habitats. Benjamin has partnered with governments, other NGOs, local communities, and industry groups to help protect oceanic hotspots for cetaceans and other large marine life in the region. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the World Commission on Protected Areas, and three IUCN Specialist Groups. He is also a technical advisor on the impact of marine debris on marine mammals for the Indonesia Waste Platform.
Brent currently calls Seward, Alaska home, where he is the Lead Captain on a fleet of passenger vessels focused on wildlife and glacier tours. He has a degree in Environmental Education from Prescott College which led him to countless days in the field all throughout the Western US, Mexico, Canada, and Nepal. In recent years, he's also taken those explorations to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands. Brent is extremely passionate about the natural world and loves to share his in-depth knowledge whenever he can.
Cheryl is an acclaimed nature photographer who has captured spectacular images of nature, wildlife, and indigenous cultures on every continent. Her esthetic compositions, artistic use of light, and exquisite detail have been honored with several prestigious awards, and she was featured as a leading female nature photographer by Outdoor Photographer Magazine. Cheryl uses the power of photography to inspire interest in the environment and cultures, and with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial/Scientific photography, you will walk away with memorable photos on any trip she leads!
Claudio is a native Chilean, a leading ornithologist, and co-author of more than 20 books on wildlife. An avid bird watcher from the age of 12, he now leads tours throughout the region, sharing his expertise about seabirds and marine mammals of the Humboldt Current, Patagonia, and Antarctica. Additionally, his passion for botany has led him to document wildflowers of the desert and Mediterranean regions of the world. He is easygoing, passionate about his work, and eager to share his knowledge with you.
David 'Billy' Herman
Billy loves nothing more than sharing nature and wildlife with travelers. He has led trips around the world and his passions are mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and large insects. He worked as an educational assistant for a nature youth movement and Natuurpunt, one of the biggest nature organizations in Belgium. For the last several years he has specialized in nature photography. His enthusiasm for adventure, good food, wildlife, and beautiful landscapes will make this an unforgettable experience.
David has been a popular safari guide for over 25 years. He has an uncanny ability to spot leopards and other wildlife even while driving with consummate skill. His flexibility, kindness, and charm complement his spotting talents, and he is adept at getting the vehicle into position for the best possible wildlife photos. David has earned certificates in Tour Guiding and Leadership, and he is passionate about continuing to learn and grow as a guide. When not guiding, he takes care of his farm and family on the slopes of Mt. Meru.
Diogo studied Biology at Bahia Federal University, one of the most renowned academies in Brazil, and began working as a naturalist guide in the Pantanal region in 2011. His skills in zoology, animal behavior, botany, animal tracking, ecology, birding, and photography have propelled his career in guiding for renowned lodges, safari groups, and research programs. On safari, Diogo aspires to build a bond between travelers and nature and instill a commitment to conservation by sharing his experiences, knowledge, and love for the region.
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 trips to Africa, especially to Tanzania and Kenya, since 1978. They also led many trips 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.
Dr. Chandra Salgado Kent
Chandra’s passion for marine ecology was born while scuba diving in a sink hole in New Mexico, studying mercury bioaccumulation in lakes and rivers. She is a professor at the Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research at Edith Cowan University, studying marine mammal ecology and bio-acoustics. As an international scientific expert, Chandra has advised organizations such as the International Whaling Commission, the Sustainable Development Institute in Australia, and the Brazilian government.
Dr. Joy Reidenberg
Dr. Joy Reidenberg is a scientist, educator, artist, and photographer. She is a professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NY where she teaches medical students and does research in comparative anatomy. Her work focuses on adaptations to environmental extremes (e.g., marine mammals). She hopes to mimic these adaptations to develop new medical treatments for human diseases that have similarities to these extreme environments, and protective or preventive technologies to prevent injuries in people spending time in these extreme environments. She is internationally known for her role in many TV documentaries (BBC, PBS, NatGeoWild, Discovery and Science Channels).
Dr. Judy Parrish
Judy has done geology worldwide for over 40 years. Although her specialty is ancient climates, she has broad experience teaching field geology. Judy got her PhD from University of California, Santa Cruz, and did her postdoc at University of Chicago. She worked at US Geological Survey, spent over 16 years at University of Arizona and the University Idaho, where she semi-retired as the Dean of Science. She is still an active researcher and was the President of the Geological Society of America. Her hobbies are flying, motorcycling, beading, and writing, including two novels.
Dr. Merel Dalebout
A scientist with many interests, Merel studied botany, then earned her PhD specializing in the evolutionary genetics of rare “beaked whales.” She spent several years studying Southern Ocean cetaceans and realized she had a true passion for reconnecting people with nature. After training as a wilderness guide, she now travels extensively throughout the world as a trekking guide and a naturalist on small expedition ships while continuing to do scientific research as time allows. Merel combines her enthusiasm and passion for the world’s wild places with a burning curiosity to know all she can about them.
Dr. Tom Hart
Tom has a passion for wildlife in extreme environments and is working hard to conserve them in a changing world. His PhD involved tracking macaroni penguins to understand penguin foraging behavior. Since then, he expanded into genetics and image analysis to monitor wildlife in remote places. He runs the Penguin Watch project at Oxford University through which he seeks to understand changes in Antarctic wildlife using time-lapse cameras, volunteer photos, and population genetics to effectively create protected areas and manage fisheries.
Lema grew up at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where his observations of guides taking visitors up the mountain inspired him to pursue a career in ecotourism. He exudes charisma and positive energy, and he shares his encyclopedic knowledge of birds and mammals with grace and humility. His birding skills, including recognition of vocalizations, are top-notch. He has over 17 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout Tanzania and is delighted to again be working for Cheesemans’.
Emily is an assistant scientist at Sea Education Association, teaching marine science to university students aboard sailing ships in New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. Since graduating from Harvard with a degree in evolutionary biology and ecology, she has studied seabird and fisheries in the San Juan Islands, lived with Adélie penguins in a remote field research camp in Antarctica, and guided sea kayaking expeditions in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords. Emily loves sharing her enthusiasm for adventure and the natural world with those around her.
Harsha was fascinated by wildlife from a young age. He rescued and rehabilitated urban wildlife with People for Animals and worked for Sanctuary Asia’s Kids for Tigers project until he was chosen to be a naturalist at a wildlife lodge, eventually becoming Head Naturalist. He’s led wildlife trips in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Borneo, Brazil, and Tanzania. He and his wife, Payal, created content to run India’s first Online Nature Guide Programs in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation where members of the local communities can attend for free.
Hishey Tshering is an avid birder, a football (soccer) fanatic, and a keen conservationist. Prior to establishing the company (Bhutan Birding & Heritage Travels), Hishey worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) as its Communications Officer. During his years at RSPN, he played a pivotal role in the protection of the black-necked cranes. In 1998 he worked with Dr. George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, on the first ever color-banding and radio-collaring of the back-necked cranes to study their migratory route.
Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience and has been a key member of the Cheesemans’ Antarctica staff since 1998. 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.
Joe has had a passion for natural history, especially birds, since childhood. He has worked and traveled extensively throughout the Americas, the Pacific, Australasia, and Madagascar, gaining a broad understanding of biology and conservation. Joe is co-director and biologist for the non-profit organization Common Coast Research and Conservation. He is an expert on the many exciting birds that you will encounter on this expedition and is ready to teach you all about them.
Almost as tall as a ship’s mast, German native Johannes has spent more than a decade in the Coral Triangle and has been a Cruise Director in Raja Ampat and the surrounding regions. He is a founding member of Planet Deep (www.planetdeep.org) – one of the non-profit organizations we are collaborating with for this expedition. With more than 5,000 dives logged within the Indonesian archipelago, he is full of enthusiasm for the underwater world and loves to share it. When he is not on the ship spotting cetaceans and rare critters, he is busy building a sustainable resort on Alor island in Indonesia with his partner.
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.
Katlyn is a captain and guide on whale-watching boats all over the US. She has worked in the North Atlantic and North Pacific for over 8 years. Her passions include facilitating wildlife experiences, educating people about marine life, and inspiring conservation actions. She earned bachelors’ from Oregon State in Marine Biology and International Studies. She is a Junior Fellow with the Safina Center of Stonybrook University. Currently, her biggest project is a co-hosting the Whalenerd’s Podcast, a communication project about whales and other ocean-related topics.
Logan grew up in northern Minnesota and later ventured to North Carolina for his college degree at Duke University where he very quickly fell in love with marine life. Now a Ph.D. student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, Logan works in the Bio-telemetry and Behavioral Ecology Lab directed by Dr. Ari Friedlaender. For his Ph.D. research, Logan travels to Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and the tropics to study populations of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales. He uses GPS tags and skin biopsies of the whales to gather data about their populations – demographics, reproductive rates, etc. – and how natural influences, such as climate change, and unnatural influences, such as commercial hunting, affect these populations.
Lynne Hoole M.D.
Dr. Hoole is a self-described jack-of-all-trades with an interest in many aspects of medical care. She combines a knowledge of old-school, can-do methods with a keen interest in new information, ideas, and equipment to create the best blend available, particularly in remote environments where resources vary in reliability and up to date. She believes in borrowing a little bit of knowledge from every encounter she has, whether it be a tiny remote clinic in the middle of the Southern Ocean or a European military field hospital in the Sahara Desert.
Macs grew up in Palau and the Pacific Northwest of the US. His relatives taught him the advanced arts of Micronesian hunting and fishing. Macs quickly adapted to a lifestyle which revolved around the moon and the tides, requiring an intimate knowledge of fish behavior and the ability to free dive under the full moon to find masses of spawning fish. As ecotourism developed in Palau, Macs traded his spear gun for an underwater camera, finding that his knowledge translated well into photography. So he now shares his passion for Palau's environment as a guide and photographer.
Mark is a zoologist, BBC presenter, wildlife photographer, bestselling author and environmental activist. He co-presented the BBC-TV series 'Last Chance to See', with actor Stephen Fry, and for years hosted the weekly half-hour program ‘Nature' on BBC Radio 4. He has written 55 wildlife books (most recently, the 'Handbook of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises') and writes a provocative conservation column in BBC Wildlife magazine. Voted one of the ‘World’s 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers', he was Chairman of the prestigious 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition'.
Originally from Santiago, Matias moved to Patagonia in 2004 and now lives in Punta Arenas so he can spend more time enjoying nature and the outdoors. He has guided trips to King George Island, Buenos Aires, Brazil, the Chilean Lake District, and Patagonia. He works with nonprofit organizations that help conserve the local environment and ecosystems. Because he loves to expand his knowledge of biodiversity, photography, environmental interpretation, and conservation, you may find him in a course offered by the local universities.
Mohan Singh Solanki
Mohan turned his childhood passion into a flourishing profession. He graduated from University of Rajasthan in India and was awarded Naturalist Guide's title from the Government of Rajasthan’s Department of Forest and is an approved tourist guide from Government of Rajasthan Department of Tourism Art and Culture. Using his vast knowledge of flora and fauna he has birded and guided all over India for more than 15 years, including Keoladeo National Park.
Paco has over 20 years of experience guiding wildlife, natural history, and birding tours throughout his native Costa Rica. He grew up in Sarapiqui near the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) Station and inherited his family's passion for the diverse local plants and animals. He was part of the very first World Wildlife Fund (WWF) intensive Naturalist training program and helped build and 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.
Rajveer grew up in Bharatpur near Keoladeo National Park and as such developed early interests in the prolific wildlife living there. He graduated from the University of Rajasthan and is now one of the most experienced resident naturalists in India and very highly respected throughout India’s national park system. He has guided many groups from US natural history museums to universities and wildlife societies throughout the Indian sub-continents, including Nepal and Bhutan. Everyone who travels with Rajveer greatly enjoys his leadership.
A professional photographer with a keen following, Ron keeps busy leading photo tours and traveling on assignment in his native Alaska and lower 48. His images have caught the attention of many including impressive clients such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many advertising agencies. Ron specializes in finding the ordinary, mixing it with beautiful natural light and creating extraordinary photography. See some of his work at Niebrugge Images.
Sam spent three years as the head of educational programs for the League for the Protection of Birds in France and has an incredible eye for spotting birds and mammals. He specializes in guiding in the polar regions and his photos have won many prizes. His lectures about ice and explorers, plus his knowledge of wildlife will keep you entranced during our voyage.
Scott is a professional photographer specializing in wildlife, nature, and travel. Originally trained as a wildlife and marine biologist, his research and photo assignments have taken him to the far corners of the globe and all seven continents. National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, NY Times, and renowned magazines have used his photography. His patience for teaching and love of capturing the essence of his subjects make him one of our most popular tour leaders.
Slater combines over 15 years’ experience as a crew member on fishing and whale-watching boats, 7 as a captain, with his passion for and skills in photography and filmmaking in order to connect people with the wild world. He currently operates private whale-watching charters facilitating personal encounters with whales and other marine life in Monterey Bay, California. In his time off the water, he enjoys co-hosting the Whalenerd’s Podcast, a science communication project about whales and other ocean-related topics.
Solohery has been doing bird surveys and monitoring programs around Madagascar since 2003 and has published four scientific articles on birdcalls. After earning a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology, Solohery began guiding natural history trips across the island. Being one of the most experienced and respected resident Malagasy guides, he knows the local biodiversity well and greatly enjoys guiding wildlife group. He is enthusiastic, extremely well-versed on Malagasy history and culture, speaks fluent English and French, and has a great sense of humor.
Steven has been guiding for us in Tanzania since the late 1980s. He learned to speak English when he was in the Tanzanian Army. He often studies mammal, bird, and plant books and puts his extensive knowledge to work in the field to find the best wildlife action. Steven grew-up on fertile highlands near Ngorongoro Crater. He has a wonderfully warm personality, is a great leader, and highly respected among the trip’s guides in Tanzania.
Sunil has 15 years of experience as a naturalist, including Bharatpur where he lives, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Ranthambhore, Kanha Jungle Lodge, and many others. He earned his master’s degree and is a member of Life Line for Nature Society, the Bombay Natural History Society, World Wildlife Fund for Nature India, and the Guide Association of Keoladeo National Park. He participates in mammal censuses, non-native plant eradication, such as water hyacinth removal, and in vulture surveys. He is a wonderful teacher with a great personality.
Tashi is a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer, naturalist, and the grandson of Tenzing Norgay who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. Tashi grew up in Darjeeling and received a degree from the University of New Delhi. He successfully climbed Mount Everest and Mount Denali and guided climbing trips in the Antarctic for 10 years. He is based in Kathmandu where his family also runs mountain lodges, builds schools, administers a medical facility, and awards scholarships for young people to attend school.
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 obsesses over humpback whales identified around the world through the citizen science project Happywhale.com. Ted is working on a Ph.D. on humpback whales at Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia.
Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in snowy environments such as Yellowstone National Park and Antarctica. He also holds a great interest in African wildlife and leading African photo safaris. 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 (www.tmurphywild.com).
Tonia 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 had a varied professional career in science, conservation, and tourism. Tonia is a superb leader as proven by the many accolades she receives during our tours to Australia. Tonia is committed to promoting educational and ecologically sustainable tourism and is founding chair of Wildlife Tourism Australia.
Born in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, Vishnu is a professional naturalist and ornithologist who has led trips throughout India since 1989. He has an extensive knowledge of both flora and fauna and spent a month leading a trip with Gail and Doug Cheeseman in 1989 covering Central, Eastern, and Western India. He wrote a book with his brother, Colonel Shyam Singh, on the birds of Bharatpur and is a member of Bombay History Natural Society (BHNS).
Walt is one of the pioneers of ecotourism, having led expeditions in Africa, North and South America, and Australia for many years. He led the first World Wildlife Fund trips to Madagascar and the first ecotours from the US to the national parks of Brazil; his deepest international experience is in East Africa. Walt is an author, photographer, wildlife artist, and lecturer whose love for the natural world is conveyed with humor and enthusiasm. He was Professor of Environmental Studies at Prescott College in Arizona for 27 years and is the author of two books on California’s Sutter Buttes and a major chapter on ecotourism in International Wildlife: Contemporary Challenges in a Changing World.
Wayne is the Oceanic Society’s Director of Conservation Travel Programs, and in 2013, he received his Master’s degree from Harvard University in Environmental Management and Sustainability. He has studied tropical marine ecosystems for over 15 years, working for the USFWS, National Marine Fisheries Service and with university groups leading snorkeling excursions in the Indian and Pacific oceans since 1992. Wayne has led research and ecotourism programs for Oceanic Society since 1998, including tours to Midway Atoll, Micronesia, Suriname, Belize, Tonga, Fiji, Kenya, and Raja Ampat.