MEET THE TRAVELLERS UK TEAM


Jennifer Perkes | Managing Director, Co-Founder

Jennifer and her husband, Phil, set up Travellers together back in 1994, driven by their mutual enjoyment of travelling, their love of animals and their desire to help disadvantaged children. When Phil died unexpectedly in August 2004, Jennifer carried out Phil's wish and set up a non-profit Foundation whose objectives are to help threatened animals and to improve the lives of disadvantaged children.

The photo is of camera-shy Jen showing excited children on one of Travellers' projects in South Africa the photo she had just taken of them. Jen's hobbies include messing around on computers, music, writing, playing with her dog and trying to find time to smell life's roses!

PS from Jen: This is why we do what we do!

We have worked with this Conservation Project in Wasgamuwa (Sri Lanka) for many, many years. This report from them about poachers is just one small example that summarises why my husband and I started this organisation. I can't physically do everything that our projects achieve, but we can help them to do it! And that is very satisfying (if heartbreaking as well because of the fact that this type of work is needed).

Poaching is epidemic in Sri Lanka and Wasgamuwa is no exception. Steel snares and trap guns are frequently set along forest paths to kill game such as sambhur, Axis deer, and wild boar. The height at which these guns are set depends on the chest height of the animal (for a lung or heart shot) the poachers are attempting to kill. So almost all of these guns are set up at 3 feet or lesser height with the lowest been for wild boar. Unfortunately elephants become collateral casualties of these traps.

Trap guns typically inflict wounds on the lower extremities of elephants’ generally on their limbs from the elbow and knee downwards unless a small calf triggers the gun. Then it could be lethal for the calf. If the home made slug goes into muscle then there is a good chance the wound will heal. But if the slug hits an artery or shatters bone then the elephant is definitely doomed. A fracture means a protracted death from infection and gangrene. Once an elephant breaks a major bone there is no chance of it ever healing. Elephants with shattered femurs, knees, ankles and wrists basically rot to their deaths, especially during the wet season, when they are highly susceptible to infection.

Steel snares again are set for game such as sambhur, Axis deer and wild boar and also to catch smaller game such as mouse deer, pangolin and porcupine. These snares get entangled in the feet and trunks of elephants. As it is for other animals, the snares are not life threatening to elephants. When elephants get entangled in snares they snap the cable from its anchor and drag the cable along or sometimes manage to break it off at the knot. We have encountered several elephants inside and outside the national park dragging cables that were attached to their legs. Although they are free the cable causes a ligature that eventually cuts into the flesh and becomes embedded in the bone.

If these elephants are treated as soon they are encountered many of them can be easily saved before the snares cause mutilating injuries such as severed trunks and rupturing wounds in their limbs. Elephants with such injuries when spotted should be treated swiftly to ensure they will not suffer unnecessarily. However, the challenge is the lack of field veterinary facilities to mobilize immediately when such elephants are encountered. So tragically most of these elephants go untreated. For some with grievous injuries by the time an effort is made to treat them it is too late.

We have set up remote cameras along several major elephant paths to identify and monitor elephants injured from trap guns and snares. This information we provide the veterinarians of the Department of Wildlife Conservation immediately. Through this process we have managed to treat a number of injured elephants in Wasgamuwa.

Andrew Kemp | Operations Director

Andrew volunteered with Travellers in South Africa in 2002, teaching English and Design Technology to township children. He has been working in the volunteer travel sector since 2003 and his work in Travellers has taken him to most of our destination countries. He has travelled to over 50 countries worldwide across six continents. He spent a few years as Destination Manager for Australia and New Zealand, where he met and married his wife.

Andrew is responsible for our overseas development and ensuring that Travellers operates within the Company's mission statement, regulatory frameworks and that quality standards are maintained to their highest level in all our programmes and destinations.

Mark Johnson | Business Director

Mark joined Travellers in 2010 and comes from an extensive Marketing background. He is tasked with getting the great projects that Travellers has to offer in front of as many people as possible.

Having gotten the long distance travel bug out of his system, Mark likes to holiday with his wife and five children closer to home now and is on track to conquer Europe. He's a big animal lover and has a bizarre sense of humour - he drives everyone in the office crazy!

Gerardo Cardinale | Financial Director

"I joined Travellers nearly 6 years ago and I am thoroughly enjoying working here as the atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed. I enjoy interacting with the teams, here and overseas, with our volunteers and I also enjoy the variety of tasks within my main duties.

There is nothing more satisfying than spending time with family, having a nice meal and obviously, being Italian ... a nice bottle of red wine! :-) I have been living in the UK about 37 years and have no intention of moving back to Italy, especially as I love spending time with my four grandchildren."

Liz | Project Co-ordinator

Liz joined Travellers in 2005 and is a wealth of knowledge on most of our destinations and projects, making her an excellent source of information for our volunteers. Liz is very well liked by staff and project members alike, and very much loved by the children in the schools she deals with - when she visited the Travellers project at a primary school in a small Zulu village in South Africa, she was overwhelmed by the welcome she received from the kids ... She still tears up when she thinks about them (Liz is a big softie!).

Liz is the Senior Project Co-ordinator for Malaysia and handles one of our most popular programmes – Orang-utan Conservation programme in Borneo. The project very much suits her big heart.

Jim Morel | Project Co-ordinator

A South African born and bred, Jim has been with us for over 14 years and is the fountain of all South Africa knowledge. Having been our Country Manager for many years in South Africa, he has now moved across to Ireland. Before working with us he established an amazing Seahorse Project in Knysna. The Knysna Seahorse can only be found in the Knysna Estuary in the Western Cape. Jim established a programme aimed at restoring its habitat and educating the public... he even won an award for his efforts.

Katie | Project Co-ordinator

Katie originally joined Travellers in 2008. She discovered just how much she loves travelling and exploring new cultures and so can empathise closely with people who are looking to do the same. Now that she has children of her own, her thoughts are turning to what they can do when they're old enough to take a gap year break and explore the world themselves!

Karen | Project Coordinator

Karen joined Travellers in 2006 after she had completed a project with Travellers in Malaysia working with the Orang Utans at Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. Prior to moving to Brazil to take on the role of Travellers Brazil Manager, (and meeting and marrying her Brazilian husband), Karen was our India Manager for many years.

Karen is Project Coordinator for many of our destination countries, particularly those in South America, and is able to offer expert assistance and guidance to anyone who chooses to travel to her destinations!

The Canine Contributors

Well, not actually sure about "Contributors" ... haven't seen too much of that yet. But they do eat a lot, so maybe they should be known as the "Canine Consumers"!

Kizzie the Retriever can most be found hanging around next to Mark, who she adores, and Suki, the Jack Russell, is mostly found in any bin scrounging after food! Her loyalty is wide-ranging, encompassing anyone who'll give her a treat!

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